Islander - Violence & Destruction (Album Review)

When I listen to Islander's new album Violence & Destruction I think one thing. Could it be that we are finally far away from the aftermath of how much people hated nu-metal that we're finally starting to hear more bands incorporate those elements? I've heard more than a few bands using elements from the style this year. Things like sludgy riffs, vocals that remind me more of that time, song structures, etc... Islanders Pains EP really caught my attention. It had super solid songwriting. The lead single "Colors" is a fantastic song. It had a great heavy vibe, reminded me of a little Deftones, and was really well written. I think the band’s new album Violence & Destruction takes the band to a whole new level. The album is being released on Victory Records. Victory Records hasn't released much that has interested me over the last half decade or longer. They have a great classic catalog, but it's been a while since any of their bands have truly stuck out to me and honestly many of their new artists still don't so my excitement over this band really is the exception.

Islander definitely come heavy with those sludgy riffs that bring to mind some of those nu-metal Ross Robinson produced albums. The album reminds me of a mix between sounds of something like Glassjaw, Deftones, or maybe to a lesser degree Finch, with maybe just hints of bands like P.O.D. and early Incubus. Maybe even some elements of early 311 albums. "The Saddness Of Graves" pretty much has elements that are reminiscent of all of those bands. "Counteract" kicks off the album with such a heavy groove riff that it just sludges it's way into your head and is just inescapably catchy and tone setting. The song has a mix of nu-metal style rapping, singing, and screaming that is done just perfectly to create a super solid album opener. The song "Pains" is the same title of the group's Victory Records EP (The song did not appear on the EP - just shares the same title). Lyrically the song is really interesting and has a cool, slightly mellower vibe. Sonny Sandoval from POD shows up on "Criminals". It's not the first time the band has collaborated with Sonny. He was featured on a song on their Side Effects of Youth EP. His addition to the song adds a lot and it works for the track really well.

It's kind of miraculous how the band makes it all work and makes it sound good and interesting. Let's not forget that some of these elements of sound that the band is trying to incorporate and make viable in their music are things the rock music industry has been trying to run away from since the collapse of late 90s and early 2000s nu-metal. I hear the term nu-metal thrown around a lot to describe this band. That is true; those elements are there, but it incorporates a lot of elements that aren't strictly nu-metal. You can hear some elements of metalcore. There are some tinges of post/hardcore. "Coconut Dracula" is being pushed as the single from the album. It has the band using some of those sludgy guitars while sounding maybe more like a song from The Used in the earlier days with some Daryl Pulombo style vocals.

This band has this uncanny ability to borrow from tons of different song writing elements and styles be it bands, genres, sounds and create really interesting and driving music. The production is spot on for this release. It just works on a multitude of different levels. The sound is captured perfectly. The vibe sounds right. I really like the way everything is mixed. It's one of those albums that on paper just shouldn't work, but it does. It's a beast of an album. The obvious drawback it may face is can listeners get around the nu-metal influence or is it a style they won't care to hear incorporated into music? I think this band does it well enough that you're going to hear those influences as great additions as opposed to a hindrance.

This is one of the better "heavy" releases I've heard this year. I've grown a little tired of the current metalcore scene and for my heavy listening I tend to get excited more about new hardcore/punk bands. This release is one of the exceptions. I think it's doing great things for the genre. The band has revitalized some elements of music and has done it in a way that doesn't make it sound cheesy or cheap. It actually sounds slightly fresh and interesting. It's much better than some of the Rise bands or other metalcore bands I've heard trying to incorporate some of these sounds. It's 2014. How can an album with these elements sound this good? I constantly ask myself this when I listen to the album. I've definitely listened to my fair share of Korn, POD, Limp Bizkit, Deftones, Slipknot, etc... albums when growing up during the late 90s and early 2000s. Some bands have aged better...here's looking at you Deftones (you still rule!). Honestly though I haven't been hurting for a re-hash of the sound. It really hasn't excited me much when other bands have tried to add those elements recently. Some of it has been okay but most of it has just felt like a novelty kind of thing or come off as extremely cheesy. There are those exceptions though and  Islander have certainly succeeded with this album. They've created a pretty solid album that is full of insanely catchy songs. Bravo Islander. You succeed where so many have failed. I really dig this album. If you're a fan of bands like Deftones, POD, Korn or other bands of that era and sound and have really been struggling to find anything interesting and new in the current musical landscape I think you're going to love this album. I also feel like if you are a fan of newer bands like Issues, Of Mice & Men, or My Ticket Home you are going to really like this. Islander and this album in particular might just be one of the most exciting things Victory Records has released in years. I can potentially see this landing somewhere in my top 20 favorite albums of the year list this year.

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