01. Paid in Full
06. The Colombian Faction
07. Affirmation of Ascension
09. Behind the Curtain
11. Edge of the Earth
Volumes sure did see a rapid jump to success. Before even releasing their debut album, they toured alongside the biggest bands in the entire scene and gaining a sizable fanbase. I could never really see it at the time of their EP, though. It seemed that almost everyone was raving about The Concept of Dreaming (this site’s official review included), and I just couldn’t get what all the fuss was about. Now the LA-based sextet released their highly anticipated full-length album Via to a reasonable and unignorable amount of fanfare, I felt obligated to give it another spin. I think I’m starting to see it.
I would first like to say that the marketed claims of Volumes being a “super technical prog metal band” (direct press quote) are an exaggeration. While Volumes do have progressive leanings, the omnipresent and largely invariable chugging would and should rule out any promise of significant technicality. There are neat and flashy leads, as heard in the album’s title track for instance, but to be honest, most of the technically challenging guitar work probably comes from memorizing the polyrhythms.
That isn’t to say that Volumes are a bunch of untalented musicians—they certainly show plenty of promise on Via once they break away from the breakdown. To be sure, Volumes can become absolutely breathtaking when they give special attention to atmosphere and melody, and honestly, that’s when they shine the brightest. The duo of “Reversion” and “Serenity” are wonderful highlight tracks that focus on creating soundscapes and instead of moshable percussive playing, including an excellent solo from Scale The Summit‘s Chris Letchford. Other songs like “Intake” and “Edge of the Earth” are both powerful and captivating, showing their superb penchant for atmosphere and melody. The group’s sense of melody is one that is after my own heart, that’s for sure.
What’s a shame though is that the band still has shades of derivative by-the-numbers metalcore. There are moments on Via that could be indistinguishable from Born of Osiris, and even brief stints of tough guy vocal delivery that is too close to Emmure for comfort (“Affirmation Of Ascension” in particular). They do little to distinguish between some songs and it can run together in a mass of djent if you don’t pay close enough attention, but if you put forth the effort, each song has a personality to be found lurking.
If you didn’t know by now, Volumes have two vocalists. I can’t blame anyone for not noticing, because they’re often hard to track and distinguish save for the very rare incidence of clean vocals, which are utilized quite well in “The Colombian Faction” and “Edge of the Earth.” There has been some admitted growth since The Concept Of Dreaming, and hopefully the two manage to further grow into their own distinct style. Bands like Sikth pull off the double-vocal approach, but Volumes are at risk for airing on the side of Despised Icon on the unnecessary frontmen situation.
Via is a fun and bright alternative to other dumbed-down chug-heavy bands rooted in hardcore out there. Volumes are indeed a quite promising young band, and they could achieve anything if they vary things up a bit more. Via is actually a good start, and hopefully they continue to expand and mature over the years. At any rate, they’re likely to continue with their initial success as it stands with their constant touring and dedication to their craft. I hope to be proven wrong by these guys, and they’ve already made a good case.
Volumes – Via gets…