Review: “Different Animals” by Volumes

The Omens were never good in the Volumes camp in the build up the release of their third full length album. Having gone from a brutal blend of DJent Tech-Metal with their debut full length “Via” to injecting clean vocals from second vocalist Michael Barr on their second album “No Sleep” and showcasing some melody, the direction of the new album was always going to be interesting. The re-mastering and re-releasing of both “Via” and “No  Sleep” with new  label Fearless Records adding new clean vocal parts from Michael Barr and some new guitar work seemed to  get the band moving once more after a stalemate with their previous label. Then came the drama. Michael Barr exited the band to pursue a more R&B solo career. Gus Farias was then outed as owing money to a number of smaller band for guest vocals that never appeared. Turned out Farias is a heroin addict and needed the money for his fix, which the band later found out about and paid back. Eyebrows were then raised as Volumes brought in former Bury Your Dead vocalist Myke Terry, who himself had been pursuing an R&B style solo career after his time in BYD came to and end. To ease fans fears, Fearless Records took an approach which worked like a dream. Releasing threw singles over several months before the release of the album to re-assure fans of the quality they would get.

Volumes powerhouse rhythmic section, composed of lead guitarist Diego Farias, drummer Nick Ursich, and bassist Raad Soudani has always been one of the bands strengths. Fortunately, it’s a strength that Volumes play to here. Opener “Waves Control” talks about Gus Farias’ heroin addiction while blending DJent with Nu-Metal to blend melody with a satisfying level of heaviness. “Finite” then adds groove and melody while delivering a message of positivity from a bleak suicidal standpoint. Pre-released single “Feels Good” then arrives with a sing-a-long anthemic quality while again providing a positivity that surprises and is one of the highlights of the album. “Disaster Vehicle” and “Pieces” are much more Nu-Metal tracks than the earlier material but both have enough about them to fit comfortably in the context of the album. They hint at Gus Farias explaining his thoughts and feelings to Myke Terry and the latter then penning lyrics to fit.

There are two Interludes on the album that bump the track count up from 10 to 12. “Interlude” is an EDM styled remixed intro to “Hope” which could have easily been cut from the playlist or tacked onto the front of the song itself. It’s something we’ve seen from other bands recently an seems needless. “Tides Change” on the other hand is the complete opposite. A beautiful piece of instrumental music that is wonderfully complex and melodic whilst being out of keeping with any other song on the album.

Stand out single featuring guest rapping from Pouya “On Her Mind” then appears. It’s driving DJent riff and screaming, rapping play off gives a bounce and energy that lifts. Myke Terry’s sung chorus then comes in, which feels like it belongs to another song, giving it a mashup vibe before returning to the verse style. Yes, the lyrics are daft, but music is great. “Heavy Silence” has an almost Jazz vibe at points, an interesting play on a theme while “Pullin’ Shades” is a distinctly Mike Terry tune, soulful and reminiscent of Sevendust at their finest. The album then closes out with the brutal “Left For Dead”, a stunningly heavy DJent Tech-Metal tune that would be out of place anywhere else on the album, a real throwback to the bands “Via” days.

“Different Animals” demonstrates that there is life in Volumes after Michael Barr. It’s a far more varied album than “No Sleep” and takes the R&B and Nu-Metal elements that were hinted at previously and brings them to the fore while keeping the bands core sound, bounce, energy and verve intact. The album is solid without being stunning. The intensity of “Via” is captured in the likes of “Left For Dead” and “Waves Control” while the melody of “No Sleep” is also caught in “Finite” and “Feels Good”. Live, the new songs will fit around the older material comfortably. What’s lacking is in the mix. There are times when you want the music to go heavier and instead they restrain. There are times where songs don’t fit the flow of the album. There are times when you want more from Gus Farias and instead you get more Myke Terry and Vice versa. [7/10]

1. Waves Control
2. Finite
3. Feels Good
4. Disaster Vehicle
5. Pieces
6. Interlude
7. Hope
8. Tides Change (Instrumental)
9. On Her Mind (ft. Pouya)
10. Heavy Silence
11. Pullin’ Shades
12. Left For Dead

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