Album Review: “No Sleep” - Volumes

Check out our review of Volumes’ sophomore effort entitled "No Sleep”.

Onomatopoeia; a word that is spelled how it sounds. 
Djent; an onomatopoeia for the distinctive high-gain, distorted palm-muted guitar sound. 

Since about 2010, various styles of ‘core bands have begun to explore and experiment with this rhythmic phenomena called djent rather than it being a niche exclusive to bands such as Meshugguh, Tesseract, etc. Some, now, call it a genre, some say a technique, some say it literally does not exist. No matter your opinion of it, it’s here and it’s evolved across the board into the next big thing that heavy bands are doing. In essence, you can’t escape it. 

Now, I’ve personally been following Volumes since they released their self-produced EP called "The Concept of Dreaming". Not only was it groovy, ambient and beautifully produced, but the utilization of three guitarists is something very few bands could pull off in Drop A and they did it flawlessly. When debut LP, "VIA" was released it was refreshing to hear that they hadn’t strayed far from their original sonic outline while also exploring abstract time signatures and even clean vocals. 

This album starts off absolutely explosive with "The Mixture". Lyrically, this kicks ass all the way until the very end. 

-“I’ll say it again, I said I’m in it to win it. Don’t hold. Can’t you tell that I’m already in the mix?” 

The only problem I have is with the structure of the phrase. It’s wonky as all hell. But godDAMN, that fucking breakdown kills. "No Sleep" is the perfect title for this album, guitar-wise. You can hear the aggression in these riffs and how they’ve branched out, melodically, and it’s utterly captivating. It’s not often that a metal band doesn’t just find one thing to do and do that for the rest of their career. Volumes is a perfect example of a band that knows how to evolve while holding true to their original ideas and influences, regardless of if the execution isn’t always quite there.

The album continues with "91367" and shows you immediately that these motherfuckers are not fucking around. This is so remnant of old Slipknot in the percussion section and the lyrical flow completely makes up for the predeceasing track’s fall short. Tonally, that producer deserves a medal. "Erased" follows, and hits you in the back of the head and makes you wonder if Spotify is showing you another ad. Then about 20-ish seconds in, they’re back in your face. Don’t get me wrong, the transition work in this song is immaculate and should be applauded. I always just feel weird when I hear blatant love songs out of this band. I’m not knocking his voice whatsoever, though; that shit is beautiful. 

 

Dude… "Better Half" is probably still my favorite track off this record. Ahhh. Fuck I can’t even with that song, it’s absolutely gorgeous. I love when bands can pull off a wild card track like especially for an interlude. It leads into "Across The Bed ft. Casey Sabol (formerly of Periphery)". This song makes me feel so weird, man. If it weren’t for the transition from Better Half, I’d probably just skip it. Casey Sabol killed it but the entire chorus just sounded like a Periphery song circa 2011.

Lyrically,

-"it’s the way that you do me, babe"

just makes me feel awkward when it’s being screamed at me by a tall man with a beard. 

But goddamnit, they hit you with the left hook again when "Pistol Play" cuts in and crushes your fucking skull with brutality and almost rapper like charisma. Like, I feel fucking hard as shit rollin’ around to this song. When the song begins to break up a bit and go melodic, good lord.. when I say these guys stepped their game up I really do mean it. This track would be my favorite to see live, no doubt. 

When "VAHLE" dropped as a single, I screamed like a 6 year old girl about it. I was so stoked and I was definitely not disappointed. The fact that they put themselves out there with such a personal song about a deceased friend [rest in peace James Vahle] was already pretty incredible. Then they fuckin’ say dude’s full name and you’re like :”’{
Regardless of the feels I get every time I hear this track, the album version is total gold and all around, this is just a beautifully crafted piece of heavy music. 
Following Vahle is "Neon Eyes", this one is probably the most mediocre track on the album. It’s not bad, but it’s not very interesting either. It’s rather dragging although the bassist probably loves this track the most.

Nearing the end of the album is "Peace of Mind" and it’s another lovely interlude. I feel as though this band could be considered the masters of the interlude. They never fuck it up in that aspect. Transitioning into "Up All Night" seems odd considering the lyrical content. However, the chorus of this song will bring tears to your eyes and genitalia, simultaneously. A lot of times, I feel like metal outfits will try really hard to mix R&B style vocal runs in with their choruses and bridges but rarely does it occur where it works in their favor. Volumes, again, breaks that trend. 

Overall, "No Sleep" is fucking solid. I can listen to it all without skipping a song which is saying a shit ton for not only myself but everyone who enjoys music by the album rather than the single. Yes, they still have plenty of room to grow and evolve but this band is onto something and that’s undeniable. 4/5 ( **** )


Review by: Mickey McKeever (Twitter: @the_archetype)

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