Volcanic Queen, the one man Texas based project conceived in 2012 and helmed since by Zachary Lindsay, is a bit on the difficult side to categorize. With a previous LP, two EP's, and a split with fellow lablemate Sudatsuga under his belt that cover an expansive range of influence from the tribal ambient/industrial stylings of early Muslimgauze to the death rock/post punk attitude of Christian Death and other similar acts all the way to the bipolar neofolk/martial industrial mishmash of Death In June's entire discography, Volcanic Queen exists as sort of a medium for music with similar attitudes that never quite crossed paths to coalesce into a more or less homogenous mix of likeminded influence. Enter the aptly titled Faith in Desire
, Lindsay's second full length and perhaps his most cohesive and fleshed out release to date, offering a more refined sound palette which sees the music of Volcanic Queen make its first attempt at rising above its predecessors and craft something wholly unique amidst the foggy landscape of his palette of influence.
Faith in Desire
consists of generally the same basic sonic landscape traversed in earlier Volcanic Queen releases, but this time with an altogether more refined, succinct, and focused approach than before. It's still sort of possible to wade through each track and pick out what artists catalyzed each sound and where the influence lies, but there also exist on this record sections of wholly unique sonic manipulation that sees Volcanic Queen crafting a niche of his own, using each of the packets of influence as stepping stones rather than building blocks. Unfortunately, with the wide range of sounds Lindsay has attempted to cram into the nearly 50 minute run time of Faith In Desire
, the biggest criticism to be found is that some of the tracks seem to clash with one another, sounding like songs meant for another release going in a different direction (this is mostly confined to the purely industrial tracks that pepper the landscape of the album).
Luckily, Volcanic Queen seems to have found his muse in the form of the ambient and death rock stylings on Faith In Desire
. All the highlights of the album come in the form of moody ambient soundscapes littered with immaculately placed field recordings and samples with fleeting rhythmic sections and fuzz drenched guitars. Tracks like the opener, For Cassandra, ooze a wonderfully melancholy atmosphere of something akin to Sisters of Mercy having a jam session with Slowdive in dingy basement somewhere in 1989. Realms of Ancient Dreams and Sorrows, arguably the highlight of the album and the pinnacle of Volcanic Queen's almost 2 year existence, drowns the listener in a shimmering moody radiance of soft ambient textures punctured every so often by the rhythmic pulse of drums fighting for air in the thick haze of the looping ambiance. Other highlights such as Winterfall, the massive 15 minute closer, Opened Doors and Sacred Hearts, and the tribal ambient stylings of Wicked Tombs, are similar in approach but still full of creative ideas and interesting themes that give them almost as much staying power as the gems that exist alongside them.
While Faith In Desire
suffers from a slight lack of cohesion, the emergence of a wholly unique sound amid the charnel soup of influence that catalyzed the project has solidified the fact that Volcanic Queen isn't simply a sum of his influences. Faith In Desire
sees Lindsay reach a personal creative zenith that will hopefully function as a basis for the further extension of his sound and see Volcanic Queen altogether break free of the trappings of the ideas that initially started the project. What Faith In Desire
lacks in coherence is more than made up for in potential, making for an album that is altogether enjoyable from start to finish regardless of a few slight drawbacks, and should please most all fans of the vast array of influences that catalyzed Volcanic Queen's creation.