Review Summary: Imagine Meshuggah doing a collaboration with Depeche Mode, and you've got Inmazes, a crushing, genre bending mammoth of a record.
I discovered Vola completely by accident. I was browsing through suggested videos on YouTube one day and came across their song "Gutter Moon". I gave it a quick spin and after doing so, I went to their bandcamp, as prompted, and found this album going for free, so I downloaded it and gave it a spin. I'm so glad I did.
Vola are a relatively new band based in Copenhagen. It's hard to put them into any sort of musical category simply because their music sounds so fresh and new. It definitely draws inspiration from a variety of different bands; the guitars are unmistakably Meshuggah-esque, with plenty of groove and polyrhythms. However, the softer sections of the record and the vocals sound akin to Depeche Mode. This odd combination of styles leaves Inmazes not really knowing what it wants to be, but the record is all the better for that.
The grooves kick in straight away in opening track "The Same War", which is best described as providing a benchmark of what the rest of the album will sound like. It certainly isn't a bad track by any stretch of the imagination, but it's certainly safe to say that you should listen to the entire record rather than just this opening track. Following track "Stray the Skies" follows in a similar vein, but with even more crushing riffs and one of the best choruses on the album, where the groove stops momentarily for some power-chord goodness. This chorus is also one of the more Depeche Mode sounding moments of the album, with 80's style electronics over the top of the infectious chord progression. The following two tracks, "Starburn" and "Owls" follow in much of the same vein as "The Same War", but the riffs only seem to get better as the album progresses. However, the following track, "Your Mind is a Helpless Dreamer", is where the album really shines. This song is undoubtedly the best song on the album, providing everything that "The Same War" provides but with better riffs and a far superior chorus.
The next two tracks "Emily" and "Gutter Moon" provide a softer side to the band's sound. "Emily" is almost entirely an electronic song, providing a very mellow, dreamy feel. "Gutter Moon", whilst still on the softer side as far as the rest of the album is concerned, still provides some nice riffs.
The following two songs, "A Stare Without Eyes" and "Feed the Creatures" return to the infectious grooves that Vola have proven to be so good at. "A Stare Without Eyes" is probably the heaviest track on the album, and also has some of the best riffs, whilst "Feed The Creatures" provides a good balance between crushing heaviness and mellow electronics. The middle section of this song is progressive rock at its finest.
The final self-titled track ends the album absolutely perfectly. The opening riff is reminiscent of Meshuggah's "Dancers to a Discordant System", but then the following section of the song is a complete contrast, being one of the quietest moments on the entire album. The song then slowly picks up until a massive ending.
There really is very little I can criticise this album about. The sound is fresh and innovative, the electronics fit very well, and very rarely do they overpower the rest of the sound, the vocals are excellent and the guitar riffs come off as some of the best 'Djent' riffs I've heard in a long time. Lyrically it is a bit cheesy at times, but given the Depeche Mode influence the cheesiness actually fits with the sound. The bass, whilst not being the centre of attention, does get its moments to shine throughout the record, and the production is excellent for an independent band. The only thing I can suggest is to listen to this album, as well as the rest of the material from this band, they are definitely something to keep an eye on over the next few years.
Asger Mygind: vocals and guitar
Nicolai Mogensen: bass
Martin Werner: keyboards
Felix Ewert: drums
Overall Rating: 4.7/5