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 The Ultimate Review of RH-12

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Date d'inscription : 26/11/2013
Age : 26

The Ultimate Review of RH-12 Empty
MessageSujet: The Ultimate Review of RH-12   The Ultimate Review of RH-12 I_icon_minitimeSam 13 Déc - 20:21

Do you still need more reasons to spend $200 over the course of a year hunting down every release this label has made? (Or is that just me?) Well, you've found it. Certainly, at this point, you've noticed at least one of the occasions on which I've randomly interrupted conversations between parent and child, the moribund, the grieving, purely to talk about how this label is (was?) the hottest thing since the sliced wheel. This just hammers in the point: while Rhinocervs has released a pretty substantial handful of excellent stuff, I'm reasonably sure that RH-12 represents the absolute best their untitled catalog has to offer. I'm not quite as familiar with the two most recent tapes, but RH-15 is soundtrack ambient and RH-16 probably has more songs on it than copies in existence, so let's say that for all intents and purposes, out of the Rhinocervs releases that we can consider to be worth caring about, RH-12 is the best.

As with most of the label's releases, this is black metal where musical comparisons come few and far between. RH-12's three lengthy songs are easier to describe in terms of themselves, without any outside comparisons. To start out, this is fuzzy. It seems like a silly place to start out when describing music, but seriously, this release is like the Chia Pet of black metal. Austin Delgadillo's vocals, which are usually a bit less buried on Rhinocervs releases, are hushed and distorted here, more like a distant screech than the proud and triumphant yell that can be found on some of the other tapes. Almost as if they're in a constant state of dissolution, the fragile-sounding guitar tones crackle around the melodies, cradling them in very pleasant, soothing white noise that I'd normally think to associate with a DSBM band. But DSBM this certainly isn't, at least not in any traditional or immediate sense: it's much heavier, vaster, more momentous and more infectious than just about any depressive black metal I've heard.

If you wanted to choose a single adjective to describe the mood here, "cosmic" might fit, but it'd still be pretty far off. This is a very spacy release, and in that regard it's rather superficially similar to Darkspace and their contemporaries; but whereas Darkspace aim for dread and horror, Rhinocervs's RH-12 takes a more shimmering and awe-inspired approach. Beautiful waves of fragile-sounding guitar chords scrape through the static, spiralling through the upper registers in a manner that's slow and patient but simultaneously energetic and momentous. Though none of the untitled Rhinocervs releases have artist credits, I'd be willing to bet that this particular Rhinocervs release was composed by Odz Manouk's Devon Boutelle, as it bears his signature penchant for forming genius harmonies out of two totally separate guitars. Perhaps the perfect example of this is at the three-minute mark of the first track (and later at 5:45), when the guitars create two separate riffs that unite to form a mournful, almost fairy tale-like riff that dances around like a somnambulist traipse. The music takes on a dazed and dreamy atmosphere without becoming overwhelming, and when the two guitars finally do agree on a single riff, it becomes all the more forceful as a result.

The songwriting here is absolutely genius, as well. The first song has a relatively strange structure in that there are only a couple of lines of vocals, in the last two minutes of its running time, with the rest of the time being devoted to shrill, cold, but dazzling black metal, with a couple of lengthy breaks into some minimalistic reverb-doused clean guitar work. By the time the song returns to its black metal base in the last couple of minutes, it truly feels like a satisfying journey has been completed. The second track is less outright slow, with movement kept by a more brisk and urgent rocking beat, and ends up feeling something like a very, very drowsy Burzum. The riffwork is still of the hazy, finding-aim-in-aimlessness type, but with the tempo change, it feels a bit more upbeat and perhaps even somewhat catchy. The highlights for this song, for me, would be the beautiful swaying and drifting lead passage that pops up a couple of times, the first at 1:35. Also of particular note is the outro riff, which seems to bundle up all of the song's previous energy and release it in a fuzzy, energetic, uplifting riff that leads the song to a fade-out. I like the third song just a smidgen less than the first two, but make no mistake, it's still downright amazing. The music takes on a more melancholic and lachrymose vibe than the previous tracks, but still maintains the presence and gravitas. The lead work on this track is nice, especially the floaty bit that starts in around 3:10, but my favorite part of this track is when the pace shifts as the song pulls out a blast beat (the only one to be found on this release) and starts pulling out heavy, chord-based riffs that can really throw their weight around. I suppose this is the closest this release gets to really sounding like Darkspace, with the extremely active tremolo riffs all swimming through a pool of blasts and static, though it's still much more vibrant and bright than I'd ever attribute to them - or any band but Rhinocervs, for that matter.

The picture which RH-12 paints as a whole is hard to pin, partially because of the lack of knowledge of artist intent and partially because it's so good at what it does that it could apply to almost anything. Is it the sound of walking through a blizzard, seeking shelter? Is it the sound of floating in space? The sound of drowning, dreaming, dying? It's an open question, but one thing is for certain: that this release is one of the most immense and potent atmospheric black metal albums to ever exist. Rhinocervs has tapped into some pretty good ideas on several occasions, but this one in particular is on a completely different scale: it's abstract, beautiful, captivating, and completely memorable. An essential listen for anybody who's so much as read the words "black metal" at any point in their life.
Final Score: 34 / 100
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