I’ll waste no time with introductions here and immediately address the four-thousand-pound pachyderm in the room; have metalcore bands just stopped trying whatsoever? What kind of fucking scene is it where it’s standard procedure to derive every single band name via mad libs? Between [verb] the [noun], [noun] [preposition] [noun], and [verb] [subject] [noun or phrase acting as a noun], you could cover a good 60% of all metalcore bands today. I don’t know whether it’s due to genuine stupidity or some form of ingroup “irony” that I’m not privy to, but this subcultural meme of day-glo idiocy has to stop sometime, and for the sake of fourteen-year-olds everywhere I sincerely hope it’s soon.
Speaking of privies, you’d better settle in on yours (which AMG’s highly invasive tracking cookies inform me is the origin of 76% of all incoming traffic), since I’ve a good deal more fun-making to do on the subject of The Silence. It’s mostly harmless here, however, since I regret to inform you that to my great surprise and displeasure Feed the Rhino are actually tolerable. Sure, they’re a bit self-serious and the first couple songs here drop F-bombs like Ice-T with a stubbed toe, but beneath the surface The Silence is little more than a competent, if run-of-the-mill, fusion of metalcore and radio-friendly alt-metal. To illustrate this point, I’d usually namedrop a few bands similar in sound to Feed the Rhino, but a combination of ignorance and confusion (since, as I’ve already explained, they all have basically the same name) makes that a non-starter.
And speaking of non-starters Feed the Rhino take a bit of a risk here by kicking off the album with what I have to assume was the background music for a 1997 informational video about the mitochondrion1. They also get this first and most embarrassing song out of the way fast, leading the album away from breathlessly delivered angst and into slightly less breathlessly delivered angst. Still, “Headless” manages to meld the band’s melodic side with a hoarse British hardcore shout that reminds me just a bit of The Hell. Lee Tobin’s lyrics are standard fare, but he manages to scream them with a good bit of personality, and he’s got a nice singing voice which he predictably uses in these songs’ melodic choruses.
Indeed, the worst thing I can say about The Silence is that it’s universally predictable. Most of the album moves from screamed verse to sung chorus and back again while the band moves from simple hardcore riff to strumming and back again, with the requisite changes of pace for songs like the funk-inspired “All Work and No Play Makes Jack a Dull Boy” and the smoother and somewhat atmospheric title track. It’s all very polished and thought-out, with a focus on the song at hand and little in the way of standout performances. The instrumentals are pedestrian and once you’re through with the first few songs The Silence becomes pretty inoffensive.
The bottom line is, if you generally like metalcore – especially the stuff that leans more on the “core” than on the “metal,” The Silence will neither offend nor disappoint you. Just because I don’t like it doesn’t mean that Feed the Rhino aren’t worth not ignoring2. In fact, after just now begrudgingly dispensing half a thousand words of measured praise for The Silence, I’m going to slap a 2.0 on it despite the fact that I pulled out of the promo bin specifically because I thought it would be absolute trash. Because while I know I won’t ever listen to this album again, I wouldn’t feel compelled to make fun of you if you said you liked it.
Just kidding, you’re a poseur3.