Steel Rhino – Steel Rhino

Steel Rhino Album Cover Art

Steel Rhino – Steel Rhino
GMR Music
Release Date: 20/08/2021
Running Time: 42:34
Review by Simon Black
8/10

Now this is an interesting project.

The name Steel Rhino evokes motes of New Wave of British Heavy Metal loudly and clearly and the music absolutely fits that mould, albeit with a good dollop of Melodic Hard Rock on top. Being the child of Swedish drummer Mikael Rosengren; hard, solid and heavy rhythms are the backbone of this three piece project. I say project as in ‘solo’ because the guitar and bass work is all the product of versatile session musician Filip Vilhemsson, with vocals supplied by the incredibly flexible Herbie Langhans. Flexible, in that every project this man contributes to, sounds like it may have been delivered by a completely different singer – such is his range. The only time I’ve seen him live, he was part of the Avantasia circus, where clean screams were more the order of the day, with the exception of his very Sisters of Mercy-esque solo spot on ‘Draconian Love’. This project sees him taking a totally different sounding rough and ready Rock ’n’ Roll turn on the mic which fits the tone of the project perfectly, being more akin to early Udo Dirkschneider in style, but whilst still giving him a few moments to scale up to the rafters and surprise you with the breadth of his vocal spectrum.

Opening with the anthemic and aptly titled ‘Rhino Attack’ this album fires high energy Traditional Metal with a rich and modern production sound. The songs could have been written in the early 1980’s, but the sound is very much of the moment. Not overtly technical in nature, but rich, fat and crisp with every contributor sounding clear in the mix and a cohesive overall band sound and feel to support it. I’m a great believer that a clear and distinct bass guitar in the mix is what truly gets heads nodding in the pit and bassist Vilhemsson clearly agrees and uses this to good effect, with that instrument tending to dominate over the guitar sound on many occasions. It works, as this album is all about the rhythms. Thundering, stampeding and unrelenting rhythms, straight out of the NWOBHM era, but not crazily speed obsessed as the sounds that followed it a few short years later. The song-writing focuses on catchiness with those solid rhythmic riffs laying the cornerstone of each song, but with good catch vocal and guitar melodies to keep an audience fist-pumping. I will be curious to see if this project ever gets the opportunity for a live outing, as these songs all feel like they would work really well in the flesh.

A cracking album, which deserves life beyond the confines of a studio project.

‘Boom Boom’ (Official Lyric Video)

TRACKLISTING:
01. Rhino Attack
02. Arrival
03. Lovin’ Easy
04. Steel Rhino
05. Bells Of Midnight
06. Fire & Ice
07. Ghost From The Past
08. Sands Of Time
09. Life We Choose
10. Boom Boom
11. New Tomorrow

LINE-UP:
Mikael Rosengren – Drums
Herbie Langhans – Vocals
Filip Vilhemsson – Guitar, Bass

LINKS:

Steel Rhino Promo Pic

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Simon Black and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

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