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Lives moves in cycles. As things change and morph over time, it circles back to key points and offers second chances. Volumes find themselves at such a point in 2020. After four years apart, the group—Myke Terry [vocals], Raad Soudani [bass], and Nick Usich [drums]—reconvenes with original vocalist Michael Barr. In doing so, they perfect a boundary-breaking balance of guttural grooves, magnetic melodies, proficient metal, and unbridled hardcore. In essence, the guys pick right up with they left off in 2015…
“We’ve done a lot of growing up,” exclaims Barr. “We’ve got an opportunity to show our maturation. We really found ourselves as a band through the process of making new music. It’s the truth. We’re going to be honest and transparent with the fans as well.”
“We’re carrying on a legacy we started together,” Soudani asserts. “This is a special thing, because it’s really the sum of its parts.”
In 2010, Volumes burst out of the gate with The Concept of Dreaming EP. The hypnotic and hard-hitting Via  and No Sleep  inspired the enthusiasm of a diehard fan base. After parting ways with Barr during 2015, the band maintained its prolific output on Different Animals  and the Coming Clean EP . Their total stream tally exceeded 40 million as they incited applause from Alternative Press, New Noise Magazine, Rock Sound, Metal Injection, and more.
However, everything came full circle over drinks in 2019.
“Raad and Nick reached out to me,” recalls Barr. “We hadn’t seen each other for awhile, but we talked. It was good to see their faces and catch up. We were watching the NBA Finals, and it felt like we were on tour again. At the bar, Raad and Nick asked if I’d help out with some vocals. It escalated into me joining them again. I felt like a kid-in-a-candy-story, because I missed playing heavy music. It was a huge part of my life. To get in with the boys and be Volumes—as it was intended to be—is amazing.”
Drawing on shared excitement, they entered Butter Studios in Venice, CA with producer and trusted collaborator Max Schad [Veil of Maya]. The musicians emerged with the single “holywater.” After an airy swell, it doubles down on a battering ram of bludgeoning riffs. The trudging groove steamrolls towards a guttural chant as Barr and Terry lock into a vicious call-and-response before the confession, “I can’t seem to shake them this time. If you hate me, get in line.”
“‘holywater’ is a new chapter,” smiles Barr. “We’re cleansing any bad vibes from the situation and the scene as well. It felt perfect for where we’re at. Of course, it’s about me coming back to a degree, but it’s also about us returning as a unit. We try to make genuine art. It’s a taste of what we can do together. It’s the next era for us, so you get ‘holywater’. It’s everything we hope to be in 2020. It’s probably one of the fastest songs we’ve made, but that’s the heaviness we want to bring back.”
At the same time, it opened the floodgates for more. Between shows in Hawaii and Japan, Volumes capitalized on newfound clarity and continued writing and recording for what would become their upcoming fourth full-length.
“It’s representative of where we’ve come from on Via and No Sleep,” adds Barr. “It’s tied to the style of writing we were doing five years ago. It brings back a lot of memories. At the same time, it feels like the future for us.”
In the end, the circle completes for Volumes.
“I want to reinstate the message and energy of the band,” Soudani leaves off. “We’re here to make aggressive music to help people. We want the fans to believe in us again.
“After everything, I hope listeners realize we’ve come a long way,” Barr concludes. “We’re older now. It’s a whole new ballgame. It’s a clean slate. We’re trying to make the perfect representation of where we are now. The final product will speak to that.”
With their second album In Darkness, Philadelphia’s Varials traffic in moshy-metal. While the music is heavy enough to shift tectonic plates, it’s not merely about crowd-killing breakdowns – although those exist in spades on the record. Rather, the band explores other aspects of heavy from the lyrics to the tones to the song structures to the melodies. It’s a sonically dense, precise, and intense record, and it’s not pretty. The same can be said about the lyrics, which plume the depths to which humanity can sink.
In Darkness isn’t interested in the light, and that’s just how Varials like it.