Victory Records freshmen Islander have been heralded as the new Rage Against The Machine meets Deftones and with good reason. The Greenville, South Carolina quartet bring a powerhouse performance on their debut album Violence and Destruction which features a delectable variety of songs from across the musical spectrum that opens up the senses, fine tune your ears and let you take refuge in the sonic quilt it weaves. These are songs you can bury yourself in, live in and wave proudly as anthems of personal triumph. After their initial release with Victory, their EP Pains in Fall of 2013, all eyes were Islander to deliver a stellar full-length. Now, several months and many tour dates later, the guys have hit the road on one of the biggest tours of the Summer, the 2014 Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival. Releasing on July 8, Violence and Destruction is sure to garner new attention for the young and eager rockers.
Opening with “Counteract,” you’re immediately subjected to the power and diversity of Islander. The bouncy rhythms and tearing vocals pierce the speakers with an absolution and perseverance that is unexpected yet invigorating. From there we roll right into “The Sadness of Graves” that pairs this same base with more mellow echoic elements to create an ethereal chorus. It’s in these tracks that the comparisons to Rage Against The Machine are easiest to hear. Their debut single from the album “Coconut Dracula” brings in the more relatable Deftones-esqe elements of softened grooves, well-paired melodies and swelling crescendos. This is a song that you can easily give in to, playing on repeat for hours on end without tiring. It’s relaxing and comforting yet empowering. “Cold Speak” is entrancing, even with the raw breakdown near the end; its flow is almost majestic. “Pains” consistency is like a silk scarf slowly winding its way around your neck, getting tighter and tighter with each verse. It’s dark, moody and haunting in the way it seeps into your skin. It lives in you and compels a strange camaraderie with the band like a rally for the lost.
Dividing the album in half is “Kingdom” with it simple beats and modest pace. Like a quiet confession, it unfurls before you into an evolving anthem of unfettered atonement. Immediately throwing us back onto the knee-jerk ride of sonic frenzy is “Side Effects of Youth.” Fusing heavy d-beats, punk influenced string work and mild hip hop elements; it’s a chaotic ride from start to finish. “New Wave” is a trippy coast down the sonic highway on the melodic; it’s intoxicating. “Criminals” featuring Sonny Sandoval of P.O.D (also known as Payable On Death), is a hard-hitting journey through conviction and confession tempered with equally high-impact lyrics and spoken word. ”Hearts Grow Cold” and title track “Violence and Destruction” close out the record with the same intensity and effect with which it began, moving effortlessly from larynx-straining screams to sway-worthy grooves.
Violence and Destruction is the debut studio album by Islander and hopefully an indication of what’s to come from the Victory newcomers. Littered with songs that practically define what life is all about, Violence and Destruction is the soundtrack to the party that you hope will never end. This album has something for everyone and with dynamic elements from across the board; it’s a refreshing change from the norm. The powder keg of talent that is Islander is just waiting to blow, and Violence and Destruction is just the warning shot. Other bands should be worried, because these guys defy definition and refuse to be pigeonholed, and there’s nothing more dangerous than something powerful you can’t label.