VOLA – Applause Of A Distant Crowd
Copenhagen based progressive rock band VOLA return with their second album – following 2015’s “Inmazes” – a dark, heavy and modern sounding recording somewhat in the vein of bands like Riverside, Devin Townsend, A Perfect Circle, Porcupine Tree and various acts associated with the label Kscope.
The album starts of in heavy fashion with the Tool-ish “We Are Thin Air” before melodic keyboard sounds enter the picture on “Ghost”, bringing to mind ’80’s bands such as Saga and early A-ha. “Smartfriend” brings us back to heavier territory again with electronic influences of a more industrial nature. Nine Inch Nails comes to mind while the vocals are dramatic and emotional, somewhat close to Maynard James Keenan at times.
The album title refers to how people relate to social media and try to impress people who they have limited contact with in real life. Themes running throughout the album also include the way in which society distracts from reflection and how human relationships are affected through fear and anxiety. Andy VanDette (Steven Wilson, Devin Townsend, David Bowie) has mastered the recording which was produced by Asger Mygind (vocals/guitar) himself. As on the debut, Mygind is joined by Martin Werner (keys) and Nicolai Morgensen (bass) while Adam Janzi has since replaced Felix Ewert on drums.
While their debut had it’s moments of djent there’s no obvious Meshuggah influences to be heard this time around, neither in the riffs nor the vocals. The album as a whole is quite melodic with clean vocals that makes me think of Mariusz Duda’s emotional deliverance in Lunatic Soul and Riverside. Stand out moments for me include “Alien Shivers” and “Still” but it must be said that the album is quite even and holds together very well as they move between heavy and mellow sounds. The album is released on both vinyl and CD.
Title: Applause of a Distant Crowd
Label: Mascot Records/Mascot Label Group
Date of release: 2018-10-12
Playing time: 42:42
Stand out track: Alien Shivers