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ISLANDER – Pains | Album Review‏

Check out what we thought of ISLANDER’s debut album ‘Violence & Destruction’ here.

Credit: Album cover

Credit: Album cover

ISLANDER are an outfit of great promise and grand potential. You just have to look at their inclusion on both Revolver Magazine’s list of “Most Anticipated Releases of 2014” and Alternative Press’ “100 Bands You Need to Know in 2014” to see that they’re doing something right, not to mention that they have now been signed to Victory Records for their debut album, ‘Violence & Destruction‘.

Album opener ‘Counteract‘ is a bold and abrasive track that instantly establishes ISLANDER’s range of capabilities as they seamlessly switch from low-down, controlled sections to punishing intensity and a world-crushing chorus hook with a killer riff.. The train keeps on rolling with ‘The Sadness of Graves‘ which wholly demonstrates the influence of Deftones, with vocalist Mike Carvajal exercising his best Chino Moreno impression. Things simmer down for ‘Coconut Dracula‘ which is a much softer affair; that isn’t to say though that the band lose any of their passion on their latest single from the album.

Pains‘ is a vicious assault that sees ISLANDER introduce an element of doom to their music; a low, brooding guitar line is vastly prominent throughout, with lashings of hardcore interspersed to expert effect. ‘Kingdom‘ is a stark contrast to its predecessor, as its melancholic opening builds to an awe-inspiring crescendo that borders on the sublime. ‘New Wave‘ is a prime cut of ‘White Pony‘-era Deftones as their influences become boldly apparent once more, but ‘Criminals‘ re-establishes ISLANDER as their own entity, a stinging barrage of anger with flecks of nu-metal providing what are arguably their strongest performances on the album. The other option for the best of the band is seen on ‘Hearts Grow Cold‘ which is a sheer explosion of impassioned fury, going off like a megaton nuclear device.

The title track sees the album out and caps an effort that barely dips in quality or intensity at any point. The pedantic in us may say that some of these tracks could have easily been previously unreleased B-Sides to a Deftones release as the similarities are vast, and some may see that as a bad thing. But for a first album and with such tracks being few and far between, it serves as a perfect vehicle to demonstrate what they are capable of. And let’s face it, if you’re being compared to somebody of Deftones’ stature, you could really be doing worse.

‘Violence and Destruction’ is a colossal album that excites and enthrals and encapsulates in equal measure. ISLANDER are hitting the big time and they’re here to stay.

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