No matter what genre of music an artist is in, or what type of scene they fall under, unless they are a solo artist, full fledged end to end career stability is a rather uncommon occurrence. If you don’t believe me, look at major worldwide acts like Fifth Harmony or One Direction; both experienced members breaking off to pursue their own solo careers. The differing factor in acts such as these is that there tends to be more overlap, the brand is already established and they tend to not replace the person. In a rock or metal band, it’s much harder to deal with as a key member who played a pivotal role in the writing of a bands material or serving as the frontman tends to need a replacement. Los Angeles metalcore / djent outfit Volumes had to deal with this exact scenario with the departure of Michael Barr and the search for a new singer. Enter in Myke Terry, who is set to not only make his debut on the bands third album, Different Animals, but also leave his mark on the bands overall sound.
Getting straight to the point, Different Animals is well…different. Then again, that shouldn’t be entirely unexpected as Volumes are a band that likes to have a varied approach to a rooted sound, and strays into other areas of music that people tend to not associate with djent and metalcore. In regards to that varied approach, it is bigger and more varied here as the album is full of catchy backing electronics that intertwine with smooth R&B stylized vocals and crooning choruses layered on top of crunchy riffs. This makes Different Animals have a sound that has the capability of appealing to a wider variety of audiences, while at the same time still maintaining the stylistic choices of what made Volumes who they are today. Proof of that lies within tracks like “Finite”, “Pieces” and “Hope”, all of which show off the more melodic, softer side of the band while other songs like “Disaster Vehicle” and “Left For Dead” retain the heavier roots of the band.
Outside of the more varied approach, the elephant in the room remains: how does Myke Terry perform as a replacement and how well does he mesh with his new band mates? Remarkably well actually. If you listen to the album front to back, you would swear the band have been together for years and there is not a single beat missed. The chemistry between screamer Gus Farias and Myke Terry is obvious right from the start, whether it’s the back and forth screaming or Terrys silky smooth choruses accenting Farias’s gritty vocals. Prime examples of this are showcased immediately on “Infinite” or the sultry, hip hop infused “Hope” and “On Her Mind”; the latter of which may draw mixed feelings from fans, but are both further evidence that the bands strong songwriting capabilities and willingness to expand their sound is part of their natural evolution as musicians.
In the end, Different Animals ends up being a suitable follow up to the beloved No Sleep and the band didn’t miss a beat with the departure of Michael Barr and inclusion of Myke Terry. While some of the songwriting may be lacking in the overall detailed and emotional level of some of their previous work, the fact remains that this is an album that offers a different and fresh take on the metalcore and djent soundscapes. For what it does to differentiate itself and the fans that it drives away, it is just as likely to win over new ones with its desire to be strongly represented by hip hop, nu-metal and metalcore, making it an album that you do not want to pass up on.