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Little EP, Big Impact - 87%

OzzyApu, June 11th, 2010

What a fun little EP – one I even debated at one point on whether to keep or not. How silly of me for doubting it (probably because it only had three songs), and how silly of you if you do the same. This release sits between the two full-lengths, and while those two weren’t significantly different, this EP acts as a good medium that shows off more of the band’s capabilities.

Now for those who don’t know, Volcano is a band that plays thrash metal with a lot of old school melodic death and power metal influence. The Gothenburg-esque production, thanks to Fredrik Nordstöm, helps to attain that sound, yet the band does more than hook the listener in with a few catchy licks. No, they do so much more and excel beyond any of the Gothenburg bands, and that’s an understatement. With these three tracks, you’ll be destroyed by colossal riffs, addicted to harmonies, enthused by Nov’s ascending vocals, and pounced to pieces by the nasty drum stampede of Katsuji. As a whole, this sounds a lot like In Flames post-The Jester Race / pre-Clayman, but miles better and more mature.

She-Ja is the founding member and puts all his energy into riveting riffs that are backed by a hellishly booming bass and high production that isn’t underutilized. Nothing’s overly modern or polished, yet everything’s loud and without mercy, so prepare for an all-out assault. The drums, as much as I love Katsuji hammering away behind them, have hollow snares that I can’t stand. If I don’t pay attention to them, then I don’t have a problem (and most people won’t), but my nitpicky self will always get the best of me. Otherwise, his drumming is very fast yet precise and rhythmically equitable.

Now with Nov, holy hell, he’s genuinely pissed off unlike the two full-lengths. I don’t know what was going on, but you can hear the sincerity in his voice – he isn’t singing for kicks. His dry, accented, hoarse singing, yells, and shouts will scrape your heart, and the only breaks you get are when She-Ja’s flying away with the leads. With that, it’s a no-brainer that She-Ja produces some of the greatest leads and solos I’ve heard in thrash metal, with a lot of neo-classical and olden, epic European power metal influence radiating from every note he makes. Trust me, blazing or leisurely, these harmonized leads are to die for.

For three tracks, what is there to lose? If you don’t want to try out a full-length first (like there’s any good reason for that) and you want a quickie release, then go straight for this one. It isn’t different from the other two, yet these songs aren’t just b-side material – not even close. You hear these and you’ll never think of the band negatively.