For a new band just getting started, garnering praise from musicians in the industry is a major benefit. More than just a stroking of the ego, these types of recommendations can help to build hype around an artist as fans of the famous admirer take note of what their musical hero is saying. Islander are a band who have been given such praise, with H.R. from punk legends Bad Brains and Sonny Sandoval from nu-metallers P.O.D. lapping up the foursomes brand of alternative rock/metal.
However, just because they like it doesn’t mean everyone will, and when it comes to their debut album, Violence and Destruction (Victory), that certainly rings true.
A mixture of heartfelt lyrics and nu-metal/alt-rock tones, Islander’s first full-length is a grower not a shower, with some tracks neither showing nor really growing. A mixture of the two, opener ‘Counteract,’ an angst-ridden metal affair and ‘The Sadness of Graves,’ an aggressive but melodic track, set a high standard from the off but not everything that follows is cut from the same entertaining cloth. ‘New Wave,’ ‘Count Dracula’ and ‘Cold Speak’ are half-decent almost sombre tracks with sincere lyrics but lack anything to really make them stand out, while songs such as the zealous ‘Side Effects of Youth’ and creative ‘Pains’ show a different, more musically passionate side to the band, a side which is much more entertaining to hear.
Then there’s the nu-metal anthem ‘Criminals,’ which features the aforementioned Sonny Sandoval and sounds like it was taken straight from the 90s, a great track for anyone who into their nu-metal or is looking for some nostalgia to their youth. In the next breath is ‘Mira,’ a very short track that feels pretty much pointless. Finale ‘Violence and Destruction’ however leaves the album going out the way it came in; with an explosive yet harmonious bang, giving you at least a good last memory.
Violence and Destruction is a tale of two halves, one being great and the other being rather unmemorable. If you like your alt-metal with a douse of unpredictability, this album with surely quench that particular thirst, but not always for the right reasons.
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