Review Summary: Bohn voyage.
It’s hard to imagine Volumes without Michael Barr. His distinct harsh vocals on Via
, and his surprisingly great clean vocals on No Sleep
, added a layer to a metalcore outfit that had proven their ability to progress without losing their edge. Despite this, it’s hard to compare him to fellow vocalist Gus Farias. His singular, dreary tone lacks enough depth to measure up with Michael, and has shown no signs of improving over time. As such, it was difficult to see Volumes matching No Sleep
riding on just one vocalist. So, with the addition of Bury Your Dead
vocalist Myke Terry (after a seemingly pointless ‘audition’ process), have Volumes pulled off the escape no one expected"
Well, at least they tried
To give credit where credit is due, Volumes try their best to reach the heights of their previous efforts. Myke, though a relatively unproven vocalist, provides a surprisingly robust clean vocal performance on much of the album. His vocals fit neatly into the Volumes package, soaring over the top of songs such as opener ‘Waves Control’ and ‘Pieces’. Though they grip the songs quite easily, they never meld too far into the mix, and prove his worth as a replacement for Barr. But sadly, that’s where the best of the vocals stops. Gus, for all the time he’s had, hasn’t provided enough of a varied performance to stand out from the rest, particularly when compared to Barr, and here it’s no different. His capabilities as a songwriter are put to the test throughout Different Animals
, and continually fail to impress. His unbearable lyricism provides so little to work with, and makes what is an already poor album even less enticing. ‘On Her Mind’ drags along at best, and becomes grating very quickly. His rap-esque vocals fail to impress, and become incredibly difficult to listen to as the album goes on. If not for the Myke-led chorus, the song would be a simple throwaway, with the Pouja feature a true headscratcher. Even the lyrics are plain and boring; “She kept talkin’ that ***/And gettin’ me pissed/Wish she didn’t exist but she won’t be missed”.
And the worst of the album doesn’t even begin there. ‘Hope’ is a jarring fusion of rap, R&B and metalcore that proves unnecessary. Despite a decent performance from Myke, and a lack of Gus, the song feels incredibly out of place and is thrown in-between two completely pointless interlude tracks in ‘Interlude’ and ‘Tide’s Change’. And, unsurprising, that’s the story for the entirety of the album; for every great performance from Myke, there’s a pointless or terrible performance from Gus. ‘Pullin’ Shades’ is a wonderful song that lets Terry weave his way through the verses until Gus’s vocals intervene at random times throughout the chorus, as if to remind us that he’s still the ‘main guy’. Adding on top of this, the instrumentals for much of the album, particularly the guitars, are bland and uninteresting, practically erasing all the progression from their previous two albums. The low-tuned chugs on much of the album results in every song feeling recycled, resulting in a listen that makes you forget why you even found the band interesting. Songs like ‘Left For Dead’ and ‘Disaster Vehicle’ don’t stand up next to the far more creative heavier cuts from previous outings, and at times it becomes difficult to differentiate the screamed vocals of both vocalists.
Though not unexpected, Different Animals
proves to be a poor response to the departure of Michael Barr, and a complete disregard of the progression Volumes had provided. To give the album credit, when it hits its stride, particularly when Myke is given free reign, it provides a glimmer of hope. But Volumes’ reluctance to allow Myke complete control, and instead relying on Gus as both main harsh vocalist and songwriter, leaves much to be desired. The lack of focus for the album, in combination with lacklustre performances and jarring songs, results in a listen that could have been so much more.
Seek Out: Pullin’ Shades, Pieces
Avoid: On Her Mind, Left For Dead