Horn Of the Rhino make an almighty noise that simply flows from the speakers like blazing hot magma. Their blend of toxic sludge and doom is potent, powerful and individual – driven by an intense desire to stand out from the morass of samey bands and cheap, tawdry revivals. Their most recent album (their fourth, as the band pointed out following my erroneous belief that it was their second) ‘Grengus’ is a masterpiece – a gloriously heavy, blast of corrosive metal that cites as its influences everybody from Soundgarden to Autopsy and which drew the delighted description “as the sound Phil Anselmo hears in his dreams” when we reviewed it a few months back.
Hailing from Spain we have, as yet, to see Horn Of The Rhino appear in the UK, but with suitable support in place the band are certainly keen to come here and lay waste to our temples and concert halls. We caught up with Javi, one of the founding members of the band, who deals with vocals and guitar and asked him to tell us a bit about the formation of the band, their music and their latest album. If you haven’t yet worshipped HOTR, now is the time for ‘grengus’ is an unalloyed work of genius form a band who deserve, and indeed demand, your support…
Firstly could you introduce yourselves with a brief history of Horn of the Rhino?
The band started in 2004 with me, Javier Gálvez, at the guitar and vocals and Julen Gil at the drums. At the time we had a different bassist but shortly after, Sergio Robles came as a permanent member. We released a demo, and in 2007 our first album ‘Breed the chosen one’ came out through 7th Gate records. In 2008 we signed with Arctic Music Group from USA for our sophomore album ‘Dead Throne Monarch’. Then, Doomentia came, and released with them ‘Weight Of Coronation’ in 2010, and now ‘Grengus’. Between all the records we´ve played lot of gigs and festivals alongside bands like Orange Goblin, Gorefest, Moho, Entombed, Hate, Moksha, etc…
You actually started out as just Rhino I believe – why the name change?
We were in the studio recording ‘Weight Of Coronation’ at the time that happen. We found legal obstacles to get the copyright of the name so we think to modify it, since our website is hornoftherhino.com
How did you come to be signed to Doomentia records?
We knew the label and they knew the band. We approached them with a demo track of the new material (WOC) and they agreed to work together. We couldn´t be happier!
‘Grengus’ is your second album (bangs head on wall in shame – this should be “your second album for Doomentia”) – could you tell us the meaning behind the name and why you chose it for the title?
Actually is our fourth. The meaning lies deep, well hidden, ‘cause it is about a rough time in life, a bitter period. Usually I don´t write things like that, but this time it was necessary. I can´t tell you so much.
How do you feel you’ve developed musically between ‘weight of coronation’ and ‘grengus’
Mmmmh… I don´t want to name the usual “evolution” ‘cause we do what we want every time. WOC was a slow, crushing and powerful record with clean vocals almost in its entirety. So this time we wanted to do a different record, pushing the gas pedal a bit, making an angrier, darker and more evil album than ever hahaha!!! Next time? Who knows? The main goal is to enjoy the songs while playing and have a good time!
What inspires the lyrics? Are there any bands or forms of art or literature that you turn to when writing?
No. Usually I write about apocalypse, sex, goats walking like men in the wasteland, drugs, whores, the end of the world, Hell, Satan, mankind and its inevitable fate…happy stuff as you can see! But nothing specific inspires me; we all love these topics, and they fit well with our music.
The artwork on your new album is particularly cool – who designed it and how much input did the band have into its creation?
Well, the idea for the artwork comes always from the band. Usually I make a sketch and send it to the artist. We have been working with Rafa Garrés since 2008 on our last three records. We give him ideas and then he makes magic. Simple as that. If you think your record is a good piece of music you must put it in a great package, don´t you think?
Is there much of a doom/sludge scene in Spain? Are there any bands that you particularly enjoy playing with that you could recommend to us?
Seems like there are a few bands here and there but most of them are boring to me, I don´t like any of them so much, but not only speaking of doom or sludge; the whole “scene” in general, the rock and metal bands didn´t say anything to me, apart from Moksha and Moho (RIP). I´m tired of bands trying to be what they´re not; cheap versions of Meshuggah, AC/DC, Metallica, the thrash revival… soooooo boring!
How easy was it to organise the recording of ‘Grengus’? Was the album self-funded or organised by your label?
Very easy. I write, we rehearsed, booked studio time and do the record. The recording costs always come from our pockets.
How long did it take to write and record Grengus and how much of the album was ready when you entered the studio?
I start writing new songs the moment the given current recording is finished. This time I wrote during 2010/2011, no rush, at my own pace, and then we rehearsed the material, as I said before. Then we enter the studio, well prepared, for two weeks to get the record completely done.
You have a fairly vocal internet following – how useful has social media been in spreading the word of the Rhino?
Great, great! Internet is a good tool for bands. Seems like our fanbase is growing, slowly, but growing. We are a small band on a small label, we know who we are and what our status is but we don´t complain.
Do you have any plans to tour Europe? Might we see you in the UK at any point?
Man, we´d love to tour the UK, or play some gigs there, but as I said before, we are a tiny little band that almost nobody knows, or that´s what we think! We don´t have so much support from anybody and it is difficult to get out and play. Anyway, we´re in talks about doing a mini tour at the end of the year through Europe, so we´ll see…
Any final words for your UK fans?
Thanks for your support (I know there´re some English fans from our FB page, hi Aaron!), spread the word, and sooner or later we´ll be there to destroy the English temples!!!
Check out HOFR and many more releases at the Doomentia website here.