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Allen Key - The Last Rhino

Allen Key
The Last Rhino
by Matt Bozenda at 17 December 2021, 2:02 PM

Despite a reputation for being a boy’s club, the sphere of Heavy Metal music is most certainly not without a female presence, and though a small misogynist section still exists, the masses could probably still agree that women can rock just as hard as men, and they can be just as bad at it as any man as well.

Thankfully the industry has also gotten somewhat better at separating wheat and chaff, and the days seem to be over when just being a woman in metal was enough of a gimmick to get signed. Beating over ten-thousand other bands to get that shot is exactly what happened to São Paulo-based ALLEN KEY, who after over a decade of trying have finally made their full-length debut with “The Last Rhino”. When considering where to place this new addition to the metal pantheon, “The Last Rhino” should be taken as an album of two minds.

In one mind, there’s the gentle soul, practically tortured by its gracefulness when expressed in this music. A clear path downward from the heyday of EVANESCENCE permeates tracks like “Goodbye” and “Flourish”. “Illusionism” in particular carries the mantle quite firmly, a textbook example of an Alternative Metal ballad. That soaring gothic sound makes its first approach on “Straw House”, dominating the second half of the album’s longest track and continuing into the first half of the next, “Love You More”.

Those two tracks are the only ones which really blend the band’s two minds, as both song’s other halves take up the more metallic side of Alternative Metal. The eponymous opener has serious action-movie-soundtrack vibes, while “Mr. Whiny” has an undeniable radio-friendly flair to it. The album’s clear-cut gem, however, has to be “Granted”, a hard hitting hook-fest which similarly belongs on the airwaves, not to mention the All-2021 Playlist.

Were it not for the prestige of the Girls Rock competition, the metal world might never have known ALLEN KEY, and without frontwoman KARINA MENASCÉ, they wouldn’t have beaten the likes of PRIKA AMARAL and TARJA TURUNEN. Beginning from the first word, KARINA MENASCÉ delivers clean vocals with a somewhat more Classic Rock sort of feel, but even before the first track finishes she is able to show some more metal range, and that continues to exhibit on each of the harder tracks especially.

So, with a dual-style being employed to mostly proper effect, the debut of ALLEN KEY can be given credit where the credit is due. That said, there’s nothing in the way of groundbreaking or trailblazing being done on “The Last Rhino”. They’re doing things we’ve generally heard before, but at least they aren’t doing a bad job of it. The band is firmly on the ground floor, and even though that’s better than most, if they really want to touch the sky, they’ll need to step up in a major way for album two.

Musicianship: 7
Songwriting: 6
Memorability: 5
Production: 8

3 Star Rating

1. The Last Rhino
2. Straw House
3. Love You More
4. Illusionism
5. Granted
6. Mr. Whiny
7. Goodbye
8. Flourish
Karina Menascè - vocals
Pedro Fornari - guitar
Victor Anselmo - guitar
William Moura - bass
Felipe Bonomo - drums
Record Label: Canil Records


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