Crash of Rhinos - Distal (Cover Artwork)

Crash of Rhinos

Distal (2011)


There is one word I'd like to emphasize a bit, and that's energy. Sure, many bands have that trait, but right here it comes at you full on with a refreshing approach. Crash of Rhinos is a young band from Derby, U.K. that consists of ex-members from the Little Explorer and the Jesus Years. Going off those previous bands, the whole emo/twinkle daddy thing is suggestible, but stop right there. It's just too easy to say that in regards to certain kinds of music, and I'm highly guilty of that. Right now, let's discuss this on an easier level.

Distal brings forth a sense of energy that I haven't felt since listening to Joyce Manor's self-titled debut. It even reminded me of the first time I heard Alkaline Trio's debut, or Cap'n Jazz. It's like, "Here we are and here are our songs. Let's do this!" The band consists of two guitarists, two bassists and a drummer. Each member contributes vocals it seems, with mostly all lyrics sung at the same time in a chorus of sorts. It isn't bad at all actually, and certainly doesn't come off as that sometimes silly hardcore gang vocal trite. It feels like each and every member is contributing something much more than just the accompanying musicianship. It's more like a cohesive unit that's giving it their all. Each note played and each note sung is honest and full of life. It's hard to find any falseness here. It just doesn't seem likely that this is a shoe-in for the goal of being in such and such genre. It's what I hope all these bands would do. Take your knowledge, skills and reminiscence and form it into something uniquely yours.

Seven tracks are here, with most going over five minutes long. The vocals are sometimes split up to varying degrees, with instrumentality taking over, but it never gets dragged out. It all feels like part of the whole picture. Each song gives its own story, its own vibe. From the brash, punkier side, to the off-key melodiousness of others, the songs fly by much faster than one would expect. Opening track "Big Sea" is one of those starters that immediately catches you by the collar and just pulls you through, and second track "Stiltwalker" seems like an odd mix of old school Epitaph guitar shredding and the more subtle parts of [INSERT '90S EMO BAND HERE]. The real highlight is track five, "Gold on Red." This song is back-and-forth, up-and-down, side-to-side. It's not so much a mess as it's an experience in demanding attention.

You would hope that a band making such an awesome record could perhaps do it a second time. But you must set your hopes low because no one can determine if that cliché of lighting in a bottle will strike again. Right here though, is something special. It has the energy this old man needs to make the day better. To make life better.

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