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Volcano play a power/thrash hybrid with a great sense of melody, especially apparent during solos. The sound is overall very guitar centrered, coming pretty close to Annihilator at times. The songs follow a simple verse-chorus-verse scheme and are mostly mid- or fastpaced. Despite this Violent never gets monotonous or old as the band throw in spoken passages (in one instance a child reads parts of a poem, but don’t be deceived, no other comparisons to Nightwish and their Dead Boy’s Poem can be drawn), piano and violin. But those things don’t really matter in the end: this album is all about solid riffs, shouted vocals (which remind me of Udo Dirkschneider, only more indecipherable) and catchy hooks.
Guitarist She-ja deserves special mention since his solos often constitute the highpoint of the songs. He’s obviously studied the old guitar heroes but I’m pretty certain there’s a place in his heart for the first In Flames albums as well.
Violent was mixed by Fredrik Nordström of Studio Fredman fame so similarities in sound between In Flames and Volcano are to be expected. As far as the music goes the two don’t have much in common, apart from the aforementioned sense of melody.
A great thing about Violent is the lack of filler material. Pretty much any track apart from the intro (The Present) and the outro (Unchained) would serve as a good introduction to the band. Personal favourites include Brain Dance, Cloud Covers (which has the most In Flames-sounding lead of the lot), Devil-May-Care-Boy and The Prayer.
The booklet deserves special mention for its hilarious mini-interviews with the band members. You get to learn the guitarist’s blood type and that the drummer enjoys fishing, reading comics and driving. Priceless!