The Island


VOLCANO bring the sounds of Haight-Asbury (San Francisco) kicking into the twenty-first century.  A psychedelic […]
By Kevin Burke
March 18, 2019
Volcano - The Island album cover

VOLCANO bring the sounds of Haight-Asbury (San Francisco) kicking into the twenty-first century.  A psychedelic trip of vibrant rhythms, extended jams and just on the right side of weirdness to call this debut work enjoyable and exciting in the same breath.  That work being the long-player 'The Island', as freak out maestro Zach Oakley and brother Matt throw an album together which is the exact amount of Californian sunshine needed in this abysmal world.

This galvanized-field of psych madness is culled from bands such as HARSH TOKE and JOY, whereas those outfits were more blues based, VOLCANO is the presented kaleidoscope-photograph to their negative.  A complete departure in sound and structure, more reminiscent of FUNKADELIC or PARLIAMENT but this is an album you can get addicted to very quickly.

It does not so much start as groove into existence with the opener-"Naked Prey", a hardened-funk opener, a toke on the album to come. The half-shouted vocals of Gabe Messer is only part of the wholesome ingredients, he sounds like the mutant offspring of a Jim Morrison and George Clinton relationship.  As bass-lines throb and riffs are executed with precision, you know from the outset that this is a work of tye-dye magic, far removed from present day.

The further you venture into the release the further your mind becomes open, and you start to crave that funk laden bass and craziness that comes with it.  As the title track detonates, African-rhythms break out, shades of the late sixties aggressive-end counter culture, deep and wide with sound, the guitar work is phenomenal. Through "Eruption" and "Skewered" the momentum is relentless, it is doubtful these guys were alive in the musics original incarnation, while not unique sounding they are for this day and age. Whilst most bands augment their sound with industrial, ambient noise VOLCANO are organic and that is what makes the outfit stand out.

"The Island" closes with a final burst of stoner- electricity, "10,000 Screaming Souls" is a six-minute rampage through riffs and imagery.  It is a voodoo ritual which drags the listener in courtesy of hypnotic beats and that screeching guitar.  My only quibble with "The Island", which is very minor, is it should be longer, this band is capable of capturing and projecting huge levels of excitement that another disc would not be lost.  Hopefully "The Island" gets a deluxe issue down the line, but for the minute this is six tracks to get lost it, an integral part of what music is there for in the first place.

9 / 10

Almost Perfect








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"The Island" Track-listing:

1. Naked Prey
2. The Island
3. No Evil, Know Demon
4. Eruption
5. Skewered
6. 10,000 Screamin Souls

Volcano Lineup:

Gabe Messer - Vocals/Keyboards
Billy Ellsworth - Bass
Matt Oakley - Drums
Zach Oakley - Guitars
Ake Arndt - Drums

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