Tuesday 16 July 2013

Review: Rhombus – 'Here Be Dragons'

'Here Be Dragons' 

Three years and one very successful crowd-funding campaign since their game-changing sophomore album 'Open The Sky', gothic rockers Rhombus with their most ambitious outing to date. Joking referred to as 'Forever Delayed' by their fans, the bands third full-length studio album, 'Here Be Dragons', has evidently been a labour of love for the band and tone that has seen their sights set high once more.

The fundamentals of their own particular brand of guitar driven gothic rock remain intact. Groovy bass, rocking guitar riffs and sublimely intertwining male and female vocals, Rhombus pull it off with ease. But with the addition of fiddles and (shock horror!) real drums, the band sound much more more complex and complete right off the bat.

The penchant for big choruses and tight, memorable hooks that had 'Open The Sky' catch so many people's attention are felt throughout tracks such as 'Fallout', 'Turn Around', 'The One Thing' and 'Tomorrow's Yesterday'. While songs such as 'Here Be Dragons' and 'Made To Last', play up the Celtic/folk elements that made 'Denied' stand out on the previous album. But it is the astounding crowd pleaser 'Timeless And Elegant' and the central ballad 'What You Wanted' that really shine out and show the band's songwriting prowess at its best.

With the album incorporating a bigger and more complex sound – as well as vocal contributions from a range of artists such as Chris Tuke (Berlin Black), Andrew Birch (The Last Cry) and Alixandrea Corvyn (Last July) – the production has had a significant upgrade as well. With so many layered vocals on 'What You Wanted' in particular, there is a very real chance of the mix sounding rather messy. But it doesn't. Instead the band sound clean and polished throughout, with the various instruments and vocals all feeling distinct and without swamping each other.

If 'Open the Sky' made people sit up and take notice, then 'Here Be Dragons' is the album that will solidify Rhombus' presence as a big hitter on the international goth scene. The songs are solidly constructed, catchy and wonderfully executed, distilling decades of gothic rock tradition into something that feels fresh and exciting. If the band promote this as heavily as they did their last album then there is no reason why 'Here Be Dragons' won't be considered a classic.

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