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Vola - Applause of a Distant Crowd Award winner

Applause of a Distant Crowd
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 10 September 2018, 3:58 AM

Formed in Copenhagen, Denmark in 2006, VOLA explore a mix of 70's style Progressive Rock, Electronica, Industrial and Metal, topped off with clear, beautiful vocal lines. Their latest outing, “Inmazes,” was an eclectic mix of super-heavy, and djenty aggressiveness, with moments of pure and raw, emotional beauty, quite unlike anything that you have heard before. Now, they are back, with a new album titled “Applause of a Distant Crowd,” which contains ten new tracks.

“We are Thin Air” leads off the album. It has a mellow keyboard sound with a simple opening riff and light, playful vocals. The chorus is melancholy and the Progressive elements come into play in the shifting meters. The heavy, djenty aggressiveness I spoke about earlier is here, just subtly subdued. “Ghosts” is a song that will hit you in the feels right from the start. That entrancing keyboard melody is astounding, and the vocals are delivered just at the right time. Like a soft rain, they materialize in front of you and disappear as they hit the ground. They bring the djent hard in “Smart Friend.” The weighted and contentious riff is augmented with delicate vocals that stay on one note, until the chorus, which is hefty and emotional. The combativeness in the instrumentation is like a fight to the death, tempered with the ethereal approach in the vocals.

“Ruby Pool” opens with more of that wonderful keyboard melody, and running bass lines, dancing together alone in a far off stage at the edge of the world. The harmonized vocals play with the piano in a moving exercise of beauty that is unimaginable, and oh so alluring. “Alien Shivers” features more of that heavy guitar rhythm in the opening, leading to pensive verses that are abridged with a full on chorus that hit you square in the feels, moving you to want to sing along. The heavy guitar rhythm returns at the end in a more supportive role. “Vertigo” has more of a soulful incantation, with acapella vocals over top a bed of muted rhythms that can barely be heard. When the clean guitars come in a moment later, your heart starts to ache at the beauty of it all. It slowly builds from there, and you wait for that big punch that never comes; instead it fades out as softly as it arrived. “Still” opens with a crunchy and heavy riff, steadily pulsing underneath the vocals. When it opens up, the gravity of it all is like a collision, as the keyboards churn a melody in conjunction.

“The Applause of a Distant Crowd” opens with a swinging rhythm, from a steady presence of guitar. The verses are dreamy, with those keys fluttering in the background, and that bass guitar taking over some of the melody work. It has a jovial sound; something that just makes you feel good. The bridge section is full on, with beefy guitar work and wonderful harmonized vocals that carry the melody to completion. “Whaler” is perhaps the heaviest song on the album, in the traditional sense. A heavy riff throbs underneath ambient vocals, sounding something like a DEVIN TOWNSEND song. The vocals mirror the melodies in the verses, and the chorus is a dreamy affair where the heavy riff drops off enough to let some light in. “Green Screen Mother” closes the album with a short and melancholy piano number. The beautiful but brief ending is indicative of what you will find on the album.

There are moments of breathtaking beauty, as high as a mountain spire piercing grey clouds and rising stalwart into the blue skies above. The more heavy and aggressive moments are somewhat gone from the last album, replaced instead with more open and airy ones that allow us to hear the vocals and textures more. They remain a very unique band, but here they have gained some accessibility here on “Appluse of a Distant Crowd,” which is never a bad things.

Songwriting: 10
Originality: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. We Are Thin Air
2. Ghosts
3. Smart Friend
4. Ruby Pool
5. Alien Shivers
6. Vertigo
7. Still
8. Applause of a Distant Crowd
9. Whaler
10. Green Screen Mother
Asger Mygind – Guitar & Vocals
Martin Werner – Keys & Programming
Nicolai Mogensen – Bass
Adam Janzi – Drums
Record Label: Mascot Label Group


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Edited 09 June 2023

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