Rhine are a progressive death metal act out of Seattle, Washington, comprised of Gabe Tachell (guitar/vocals), Alex Smolin (guitar), Carlos Delgado (drums), and James Porter (bass). Their new album is titled An Outsider, and actually the multi-talented Tachell not only played all the instruments, performed the vocals, but also produced & mixed the record as well as designed the cover artwork. As this is a pretty dense and complex album, no doubt Gabe needed to flesh Rhine out into a full band for live appearances and future recordings, but for this one, it's all him that you hear.
Influences ranging from Opeth, Enslaved, Borknagar, Devin Townsend, Between the Buried and Me, and various '70s prog icons can be heard throughout An Outsider, but Rhine do have a style all their own that's quickly shining through. Tachell's array of clean vocals, growls, rasps, and screams permeate the entire album, floating, soaring, or rampaging over a mix of fiery metal riffs, gorgeous folk passages, trippy psychedelia, and complex progressive rock. "Dissolved in Fire" contains some haunting organ & Mellotron which supports gentle acoustic and violent electric guitars, and the back and forth between the clean vocals and harsh screams is extremely well done. On "Into the Unknown", symphonic metal arrangements make up the musical landscape while operatic screams and gravelly black metal rasps do battle, and the band invoke images of classic Opeth with the complex layers of prog & death metal on the epic sounding "Dreaming of Death". Fans of the moody & atmospheric Anathema, Katatonia, or Porcupine Tree will love the dreamy sounds of "Fragments", a chilling yet hauntingly melodic gem that closes out An Outsider.
By no means an album that is going to fully open itself to you in one listen, An Outsider is well worth exploring for any fan of dark, adventurous, progressive death metal. Mr. Tachell is obviously a man of immense talents, and it will be interesting to see how his new band and he follow this one up in the not too distant future.
1) Dreaming of Death
2) Spell of Dark Water
3) An Outsider
6) Dissolved in Fire
8) Into the Unknown
9) Shipwrecked in Stasis