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Volcanova - Cosmic Bullshit

Cosmic Bullshit
by Chris Hicklin at 21 March 2022, 5:42 PM

Gloriously erupting from an Icelandic magma chamber come VOLCANOVA with “Cosmic Bullshit” a compact EP that takes up the mantle of their 2020 full length debut “Radical Waves”.  More usually associated with the Black Metal scene, Iceland is not well known for its sweeping desert vistas, and yet VOLCANOVA consider themselves a Stoner/Desert Rock band, claiming KYUSS as a major influence. While this relationship can certainly be perceived in their music, the grooves on this release are much tighter than you might usually expect, and despite the standard detuned, sludged and fuzzed up guitar sound there is a more vanilla Hard Rock vibe running through the release, akin to a band like Scott Ian’s side project THE DAMNED THINGS. You might also detect some fanciful Progressive Rock rumblings as well, as the band are certainly not afraid to stretch their legs a little when it comes to song writing.

First to escape the crater is breathless rocker “Salem,” a cascade of raucous riffs that will have the nearest Black Metallers running for their doomed lives to escape the lava flow of infectious upbeat energy this band spews forth. This track does not just set down a groove and then rinse and repeat like many of their fellow genre-mates, it is jam packed with musical ideas, rhythmic experimentation, and superb three-part harmonies. This takes us to “Gold Coast” another great fun song with a heavy SABBATH feel, which sadly needs far more cowbell. I’m just joking, it’s got more cowbell than you could shake a stick at.

The good times keep rolling with “Desolation” which brings a deeper heavier groove in the verses, but still parties on with some sleazy foot stomping bass breakdowns, that sound like SWEET just popped a bunch of psychedelics.  t’s not all fun, fun, fun though, and the party pooper in this case is “End of Time,” an altogether more serious affair with a chiming acoustic introduction that gives way to a more laid-back groove than we have become used to and a restrained but effective guitar solo. There is another, showier, but still well-judged guitar solo on “No Wheels,” a driving track foreshadowed by an excellently cheesy cowbell intro that heralds the return of festivities. This just leaves us with the seven-minute epic “Lost Spot” which ends the EP on a bit of a downer. It’s not a disappointment by any means but a more sober take on their sound, a pounding sludgy riff that is split by an ethereal breakdown with chiming guitars, eloquent bass playing and spacey sound effects.

As I have already mentioned, the vocals are really something special on this E.P., Samúel Ásgeirsson is a strong vocalist on his own, but the faultless harmonising from the rest of the band takes it to the stratosphere, and I cannot emphasise enough how much this band have improved from their debut in this area. The production is decent as well, there is nothing particularly exciting or different about the guitar tones, in fact I think they could tighten up a little in this area given their proclivity for detailed guitar work, but they are expertly recorded as are the drums. We were supposed to have this band in the U.K. this month with fellow purveyors of Icelandic insanity THE VINTAGE CARAVAN, sadly this tour has been postponed for the usual reasons, but I will be first in line for the eventual make-up dates, as a band with this sort of unabated ardour is certain to rock an audience to their very igneous foundations.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 7

4 Star Rating

1. Salem
2. Gold Coast
3. Desolation
4. End of Time
5. No Wheels
6. Lost Spot
Samúel Ásgeirsson - Guitar, Vocals
Thorsteinn Árnason - Bass, Vocals
Dagur Atlason - Drum, Vocals
Record Label: The Sign Records


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