After the mass acclaim from fans of ‘Via,’ Volumes have been trying to reach that same level of power as their debut. After the departure of Michael Barr, the band continued with Gus Farias and the addition of Myke Terry, but it just wasn’t the same. After 5 years, Michael Barr returned, replacing Farias, and bringing a refined sound to Volumes yet again. In a way, ‘Happier?’ is a return to form for the group, and one that excels above the rest.
Throughout the record, Volumes effortlessly mixes their relentless djent style with a new sense of melodic approachability. From the intro of “FBX,” the band’s signature heavy sound paves the way for their return to form. With “Malevolent” and “Man on Fire,” ‘Happier?’ hits with intense aggression, producing bouncy riffs and grooves. On the other hand, “Bend” and “Lets Me Down” prioritize the melodic aspect, crafting catchy choruses and memorable melodies. Myke Terry and Michael Barr soar over the instrumentation, creating a beautiful duet of melodies throughout the mellower moments of the record. The two styles are also married throughout ‘Happier?,’ creating a fantastic juxtaposition of melody and aggression within the tracks. “Weighted” and “Get Enough” seamlessly combine the clean sections with the heavier instrumentation and provide listeners with a great blend of style.
With the closer, Volumes really shows off their return to form in grand fashion. “Happier?” was initially a ditched track from the classic ‘Via,’ and the composition truly proves that. Mixing melodic guitar riffing with catchy drum grooves with a great blend of screaming and singing, the title track brings together all the strengths of each member and molds it into one cohesive form. The combination of Terry and Barr with the supreme integration of lead guitar work, catchy grooves, and memorable songwriting amplifies the whole of ‘Happier?’ to a grander level. Yes, the rest of the record is fantastic, but the closer really showcases the band’s original style and displays the immense proficiency of the group’s talent.
With ‘Happier?,’ Volumes returns to their original form with just as much power and emotion as before. With Barr’s return and chemistry with Terry, their most recent effort brings back the beauty of the dual-threat vocals mixed with the intriguing progressive metalcore style of their older style. Volumes is back, and we couldn’t be Happier.