Review Summary: With a bit more experience, Volumes will transition into one of the better modern melodic metalcore bands that will stand out amongst the horde.No Sleep
is somewhat of a perturbing listen. While Volumes hasn't been around for a long period of time, the sound solidified on their past two releases has been the technical metalcore genre, which can be incredibly one-dimensional. This album marks the beginning of the band attempting to embrace more dynamic influences, resulting in a somewhat startling listen for people that were previously acquainted with the band. Instead of ten tracks of endless chugging and a largely monotonous sound, No Sleep
boasts a good amount of atmosphere and melody injected into the affair. It's certainly all the better for it, as the soaring cleans are strong enough to hold their own against the brutal screams that they are often matched up with. However, this isn't the biggest transition in terms of Volumes' sound; third track "Erased" starts out with gentle, melodic guitars that build up to a frenzied breakdown that still doesn't completely lose sight of the melody that began the song. It's quite surprising that the djent guitar tone used liberally in the past doesn't overtake the small atmospheric choices that the band has made on this album, and they have obviously opted for a much natural songwriting structure. Rather than juxtaposing endless breakdowns each song with misplaced-sounding clean choruses, the band simply slows down for effect when necessary and allows the heavier sections to be much more cathartic than on past releases.
Of course, this isn't to say that this record is without its flaws, with some of them being very
apparent. This is absolutely a stepping stone for the band to try out different avenues, and many of these songs still run together. The two interludes ("Better Half", "Peace of Mind") present on here do a great job of keeping the atmosphere running through much of No Sleep
, but generic breakdowns are still the main issue of the album. Songs like "91367" and "The Mixture" are run-of-the-mill tech metalcore that won't do much besides incite a decent-sized mosh pit in a live concert situation, and proves that Volumes are still fighting an internal desire to deliver what past fans are used to. In addition to the problematic stagnancy that some songs possess, there is also another glaring issue present: the lyrics. Most are laughable at best, and for No Sleep
to be at all enjoyable for listeners, they almost need to be purposefully ignored. The immature rantings on "Pistol Play" make the song almost painful to listen to, and this problem rears its ugly head quite a few times throughout the album.
Melody is certainly the saving grace of this album, especially given the fact that Volumes aren't afraid of sustained passages of ethereal guitars and clean vocals. The band has proven on tracks like "Erased" and "Across the Bed" that they can naturally bridge their brand of heaviness with catchy choruses and minimalistic atmosphere. With a bit more experience under their belt, it can be assumed from No Sleep
that they will transition into one of the modern melodic metalcore bands that will stand out amongst the horde.