Armed with a new vocalist in ex-Bury Your Dead frontman Myke Terry, progressive metal band Volumes were certainly at a crossroads for album #3. But by all accounts, they’ve certainly succeeded with the new album, Different Animals. Ultimately, it’s the album that’ll see the band cross over to the mainstream – it’s the fact that the new album is so varied that it works in their favor.
Volumes are at their best when they boldly combine pop hooks with their brand of rhythmic progressive metalcore. Few bands are actually any good at this (Sylar and Issues are two of the better ones playing a similar style) and if anything, it’s this route that Volumes are following. Case in point, two of the non-single tracks, “Hope” and “Pullin’ Shades”. These two tracks, besides being arguably the best on the album, combine hip-hop and pop styles very well – but it’s not like they’re not heavy or anything. They just happen to be well put together and also should be concert staples too. Seriously XM Octane, are you listening? There’s tracks here that could (and should) be all over rock radio.
You’ll probably hear longtime fans of the band complain that this is Volumes “selling out”, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Though on The Concept Of Dreaming and VIA there weren’t too many hints they would eventually head this direction, there were a few signs – namely the career-defining song “Edge Of The Earth” – that Volumes would evolve and grow into what they have now. Different Animals certainly isn’t radio rock – they just happen to have found their sound.
Volumes also haven’t forgotten how to write music that moves the moshpit, though. While “Left For Dead” seems less effective on the album considering it’s the album closer (it really should have been placed at the beginning of the record to kick things off), both it and “Waves Control” are still solid tracks that will also make you want to spinkick your neighbor. “Waves Control” in particular is the better of the two tracks, with aggressive lyrics decrying police brutality and racism.
At the end of the day, Different Animals could have been a failed release for Volumes, because not every band is particularly great at branching out into new styles (Suicide Silence, here’s looking at you). But the album succeeds because it doesn’t completely abandon their previous sound – it simply adds to it by exploring new elements. And while not all the songs are perfect, there’s enough standouts here that you’ll be seeing Volumes not only supporting bigger bands on tour…but playing their own headliners. The addition of vocalist Myke Terry seems to be a catalyst, but so too is the overall evolution of the band. This may be a “different animal”, but since when is that a bad thing?