Violence & Destruction
(Victory Records)

Last year, Islander caught out attention with their excellent debut EP, Pains. Now the band have returned, and their sound has not only tightened, but evolved. Last time around, it was Glassjaw and Rage Against the Machine that came to mind the most. Now, it’s POD and Midtown (believe it or not). With the exception of a few tracks that definitely feel in the same vein as the EP (“Counteract”, “Pains”, “Side Effects of Youth”, “Hearts Grow Cold”), Violence & Destruction is of a different breed. The singing and melody found here is actually surprising at first, especially since the band is so good at sounding outraged and distorted. The first track to properly display this balance is “The Sadness of Graves”, which is fueled by its haunting chorus, “The Earth is a tomb / It’s on fire…”. The track is then followed by one of the best songs (if not the best) of the record, “Coconut Dracula”. This one practically screams Midtown, and moves with a sexual and relaxing energy throughout. It’s the kind of track you’ll want to have on repeat every time it comes back around.

It’s in the second half of Violence & Destruction that Islander bring forth their arena rock/metal influences. “Kingdom”, for starters, is somewhat akin to the more recent sound of Linkin Park, fueled by a heavy sadness that is both effective and contagious. From there, “Side Effects of Youth” brings in that grand bridge scheme that is very much like POD; look for the minute and a half marker. Then there’s the excellently energizing “Criminals”, which even features Sonny Sandoval. This one comes tied with “Coconut Dracula” as best of the best Islander has to offer.

Even if Pains wasn’t enough to catch your interest in Islander, Violence & Destruction should do the trick. This is a very satisfying record with only one real flaw; instrumentally, there needs to be some more diverse writing next time around. That being said, Islander have a real winner here. From start to finish, Violence & Destruction has a lot of greatness to share with its listeners. (Nathaniel Lay)

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