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It has been a while since we’ve seen a full-length release from San Diego’s Volumes. Three years since the release of their debut album ‘Via‘ and the quintet have really stepped up their game. Their debut was without a doubt, a solid album but this is a new beast entirely and after the five-piece dripped fed single after brilliant single over the past few months, ‘No Sleep‘ is finally upon us in all of its glorious entirety.
The riffs, the leads, the drumming, the vocals, and everything in between carries real impact and thought behind it, and of course, it’s all tighter than Tupperware. Each song is so different from the last and the album flows really well, it never becomes boring or monotonous – a problem that plagues too many bands these days. ‘No Sleep‘ is also a more emotive release than its predecessor, but the group retains the same progressive undertones of their EP and debut album.
Like always, Volumes‘ musicianship is absolutely top notch. Guitarist and producer Diego Farias pumps out some fantastic leads with the engaging single ‘Vahle‘ and the viscous ‘Pistol Play‘. He also backs up this melodic playing style with some "classic" Volumes guitar work with album opener, ‘The Mixture‘, and again with the intense ‘Neon Eyes‘.
Drummer Nick Ursich and bassist Raad Soudani work so well together to create one seriously air-tight rhythm section. Ursich has some great ghost noting going on and his breakdowns and fills are all extremely well executed. You can also really feel the low end throughout each track and the bass itself peaks out every now and then in the mix to remind that you that it’s still there.
Vocalists Gus Farias and Michael Barr interweave between each other’s screams so well. Farias mainly sticks to his dry, clear signature scream while Barr sticks with his throaty, messy style. Barr also throws in some sweet cleans on a few songs and to be honest, he nails it each and every time. The execution both of these guys have puts so many vocalists to utter shame. The band covers a few lyrical topics with this effort. They address their disgust for bands only in it for fame, money, and the "rockstar" lifestyle (‘The Mixture‘), they honour a fallen friend (‘Vahle‘), and other times, they get all kinds of aggressive and angsty (‘Pistol Play‘ and ‘91367‘).
There are some memorable moments here. Namely when the short ambient instrumental of ‘Better Half‘ leads brilliantly into the epic and impassioned album standout, ‘Across The Bed‘. The band repeats this same track structure later on with the soft acoustic guitar track, ‘Peace Of Mind‘ leading right into album closer and no-holds barred anthem, ‘Up All Night‘.
‘No Sleep‘ is also a little more melodic and emotive based than ‘Via‘. ‘Erased‘, ‘Vahle‘ and ‘Across The Bed‘ and ‘Up All Night‘ really show off this side of the band with massive leads, ambient synth and soaring clean vocals, all of which work to stunning effect. But the group is still heavy, and they still play their brand of metal so damn well that’s it’s almost impossible to fault. So go on, give some of it a try for yourself!
Volumes have deeply refined and strongly honed in their already tight sound for their sophomore effort. As a result, ‘No Sleep’ is the band’s best work yet and an absolutely essential release for 2014. There is no stopping Volumes now!
1. The Mixture
4. Better Half
5. Across The Bed
6. Pistol Play
8. Neon Eyes
9. Peace of mind
10. Up All Night