On their third album Volumes opt to move from prog to pop on the appropriately named “Different Animals”.
A lot has changed for LA based djent/metalcore outfit Volumes since the release of their seminal debut Via– most notably a combination of losing co-vocalist Michael Barr, issues with their former label and a slew of controversies. Under such circumstances it would have been easy for this young band to throw in the towel after such hardships, so its admirable to see the band return with their third album with their latest recruit: vocalist Myke Terry, formerly of Bury Your Dead.
In all honesty I think the band have landed on their feet by having Myke join their ranks, as he proves himself to be a more than competent vocalist and provides the star quality that the band have been in need of. Whilst his harsh screams nicely complement vocalist Gus Farias’ lower register bark, its his singing that really elevates the music the band offers up. Tracks like “Waves Control” benefit from the juxtaposition of thick, chunky riffage and Myke’s mellow vocal work in the chorus, particularly as the instrumentation on offer, courtesy of guitarist Diego Farias, bassist Raad Soudani and drummer Nick Ursich, isn’t particularly flashy or showy. Opting not to indulge in the overtly technical end of the djent spectrum, the rhythm and guitar sections choose to write bouncy grooves and staccato riffs that owe as much to Limp Bizkit as they do Born Of Osiris in order to provide a fairly restrained canvas for the vocalists. In fact, the best tracks on Different Animals are when Myke takes the lead to create soulful melodies that are brilliantly memorable, such as on standout track “Pullin’ Shades”.
Although the band has always centred their songs on a balance of heavy and soft styles, this time around the band is somewhat guilty of letting it run too far. Pairing the Meshuggah-esque guitar groans of “Disaster Vehicle” and “Left For Dead” with the ultra poppy “Finite” or the delicate croon-meets-rap of “Hope” makes for a jarring listen that doesn’t meld together seamlessly. If these tracks in particular had a stronger sonic overlap between them it would make for a more cohesive album- especially as they manage to do so superbly on “Feels Good” and “Always On Her Mind”. Whilst these issues are admittedly fairly small (the tracks themselves are great- it’s just how they mesh together), the real problem I had with Different Animals is with the keyboards/programming and the amount of filler on the album (two instrumental tracks? Really?). Ideally the electronic bleeps and piano tinkling would add a layer of complexity to the tracks, but unfortunately they detract from the overall song as they feel slightly amateurish. Perhaps by recruiting a band member who specialises in programming (a la Jordan Fish of Bring Me The Horizon) who could carefully craft effects to complement and enhance the compositions would benefit Volumes greatly.
After the tumult of the previous few years one could consider Different Animals as a victory for the band, however considering the standards that I personally hold the band to, I’d rather think of this particular outing as the first step onto something more developed. This isn’t bad by any means, but with a bit more focus and consideration Volumes could produce an album that can stand toe-to-toe with Via.
What do you think? Do you agree or disagree? What albums should I review next? Feel free to leave a comment, like this blog post, like the Facebook page , follow the Pinterest page, and follow this blog for more content.