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Lovely and… fiery? - 85%

EvinJelin, April 5th, 2014

After the cover commentary, time for the band name commentary. Volkana, now that's an awesome name! According to an interview, a volkana is really what you think it is: a magic creature living in volcanoes. Is the band's music as fiery as the name suggests? Let's see.

Volkana plays a rather particular kind of thrash metal that can be best described as pop punk-influenced metal (pop punk like The Ramones, which Volkana actually covered in that album, not like, well, the thing that has invaded the rock radios nowadays) with lyrics that Slayer would write if they were more optimistic. Translated, they have lyrics about hell, but it's quite obviously a metaphor for personal issues. No need to analyze "Hide" too much to see it's about escaping a troubled kind of lifestyle. There even is an anti war songs with "War, where my enemy lies", and you can't make anything less evil than an anti war song. The so called "Descent to hell" has, at the end, many lines about how going to hell is the punishment for evil people. In the same vein, you might think the volkanas are like, say, the Balrogs or the Fire Nation, but they are actually on the good side and, I guess, fighting to protect the world against evil.

Enough with the lyrical content, now what about the music? It's what you would expect for this kind of lyrics. The singer has a usually soft singing voice, but quite often gets into a rather evil sounding barking growl. That's one of the nicest things about the album, because it's always so unexpected. She's a hidden bad ass. And oh, how Volkana loves contrasts and unexpected things. There's a male vocalizing on "That's my victory", scratching noises at the end of "Descent to hell" , even an instrumental interlude called "Scratch noise", and a sample of a male voice talking. The cover of "Pet sematary", which has no trace of metal and is about death and hell in a less metaphoric or hopeful way, doesn't fit the rest of the album but that's kind of the point.

This was yet again more a description than a review. Time to talk about the quality of the music, because in my opinion, there is one. Don't let the pop punk comparison of the clean vocals fool you, Volkana is a metal band. They have big riffs, big drums and speed. "Darkness", the first track, starts with the kind of kick ass riffs that get you into it. Though it's sometimes less heavy, as in "Pet sematary" or more contemplative on "Silent city" (but still rather well done), it keeps a good energy until the awesome end. And that awesome end is the famous song about volkanas, which is the one epic anthem of the album, and full of pretty good riffs. I'd say it's a rather good album to headbang to. Though this is not the heaviest or angriest ever recorded in the history of thrash, it's still a entertaining one, both because it's fun, and because it's rather unusual on many aspects. Original vocal style, original lyrical themes, even an original band name, and lots of strange little sounds, all of this makes the charm of the album.

So, should you do as the back of the cover says and "Fuck the neighbors, play it loud"? Yes. Even though they are not indispensable, and, I guess, not for everybody, you can give it a try.