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HMS Music Spotlight

Who can take progressive rock and mix it up with Floyd? The Rhine band can! They can also stir in some jazz and top the whole mess with death metal. If you think things couldn’t get any weirder, they sprinkle a bit of polka for a bar or two and before you get comfortable, dump you right back into the black pit of emptiness.

This death-prog outfit from Seattle, Washington takes inspiration from everywhere to write songs. What comes out is the beauty of Steve Wilson, the art of Pink Floyd, the jazz of The Yellowjackets, and the black metal of Immortal. The variety is crazy; time signatures change on a dime, the rhythms have no rhyme or reason (at various times), and the vocals range from soft to what sounds like a dying man in distress.

Two songs in, and I’m sold. First is “Dreaming of Death,” which starts off mellow but gets busy with the death thing. “The Spell of Dark Water” is out of this world. The pattern of fast-slow-fast continues throughout An Outsider, but not every song sounds the same. For once, I cannot explain the sound of a band, there is so much to hear and listen to. This record is exciting, intense, colorful, heavy, and dark all at the same time. I’ll think that I’m listening to a heavy tune, then the mood changes with jazz or classical guitar, then BAM! It’s heavy again. You really get lost in the arrangements of these songs. Gabriel Tachell’s vocals are beautiful, whether he’s singing death or normal. He also plays both bass and guitar on the record. Sean Lang does an excellent job on the drums, and it’s hard to believe that there are only two guys on this record!

An Outsider
Written by: Tim Duran
9 out of 10

The only downside for me is that when the moods change, you can hear the split where they had to cut in and out. I don’t know how these songs would translate in a live setting, but it’s a great disc to pop in the car and let play for a couple of weeks; it does not get tiresome. I give Rhine a nine!

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Tim Duran, HMS

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