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What is this title saying? Is it possible that Volkana, an old school brazilian thrash metal band, changed their sound? But how is that new Volkana? Did they turn into… no genre a true metalhead dares to name? Doesn't their new singer also sing in a (oh, the horror !) pop rock cover band? Oh… Volkana is a sell out now !
Don't worry, it's not so bad! It's nowhere near like what I assume you're thinking. This new Volkana is definitely not a sell out, and it's actually an example of stylistic change done right. But I better warn you, it's very different from their first album which is actually called "First". The line-up has radically changed because there is a new singer and there is no trace of their pop punk thrash metal with lyrics about hell, genies from the volcanoes and personal problems. Marielle Loyola and her soft singing interrupted by barking growls are gone and replaced by Claudia França and her rough rock/metal voice. Lyrics are now about not fitting in, how ugly and conformist the world is, and not fitting in again. It all ends with a cover of "Whole Lotta Love". I wouldn't blame you if you thought this was another band that just had the same name.
Sure, I thought the Volkana from "First" had a very unique and interesting sound, and I regret it has completely gone away on their next album. But the best way to judge "Mindtrips" is not to compare it to "First". For what it's supposed to be, a hard rock album about hating your repressive lifestyle (and hey, it was made in the 90s), it's pretty damn good. The lyrics are about refusing to be controlled by society or anyone else and finding the strength to stand up for yourself. Volkana actually didn't loose that ability to make catchy and rocking songs about surprisingly deep issues, and they even improved it. I'm being completely serious here. I know songs about being yourself are a trend right now, but what Volkana does on this album sounds very sincere.
Now about the music… As it sounds pretty good, it shows Volkana has the ability to play more than one genre. While it has a mainly hard rock sounds, there still are some hints of their thrash metal roots. It can be labelled metal, and the mix of hard rock, grunge and thrash kicks ass! A little problem is that it's sometimes a little repetitive, something that "First" never was, but other than that, this album deserves the 80 points I gave it. While it's not as unique as Marielle's, Claudia's vocals are pretty good. They're powerful and really carry the music. They sound really mean and aggressive as well.
Maybe I should talk about the cover of "Whole Lotta Love'. At least, Volkana didn't forsake its tradition of the cover that doesn't fit the rest of the album. Volkana's version is decent, but a little too tame compared to the original, and also Leather Angel (the band that would be renamed Jaded Lady after line-up changes)'s version. It's a shame that Claudia's range is too narrow compared to the rest of the album, but instrumentally, it's OK. Now, you can really spend hours wondering what it's doing there. Is it just a cover thrown there because there already was one on the first album? Is it a song deliberately chosen because it doesn't belong here? Did they cover it just because they can? Or is it the happy ending which says that when you've found your true love, the horribleness of the outside world doesn't affect you anymore? Really, you could spend hours thinking about that.
To sum up my opinion, I'd say it's a shame they didn't keep their old sound, but this new sound is pretty good and just as interesting as the old one. Really, that's not bad at all. Actually, I think you could make more albums with the "First" sound, but also with the "Mindtrips" one.