With three distinctly sounding records under their belt, VCTMS have returned with Volume. 4: Numb The Ache. Taking elements from their back-catalogue and refining them to a collection of tracks that stand shoulder-to-shoulder with one another, the trio have streamlined their own sound without losing any of its ferocity.
From opener ‘What Doesn’t Kill You’ to the frenetic ‘Anger // Set’, VCTMS rarely stop for breath, thundering through chugging and twisting guitars to wild eyed verses with ease. Not content with just repeating themselves, the likes of ‘Carefully // Caged’ and ‘Carve’ display not just a nuanced take on their sound, but also a progression in John Matalone‘s vocals. With the former slipping in a welcome set of low growls and spinning melody from guitarist Ryan Walter and the latter running through a variety of vocal techniques to ensure that there’s no room for dead space, the record refuses to waste any time.
As the album progresses, more elements and influences come into play, most noticeably the trip hop inspired ‘Intoxication’. Led by Meredith Henderson‘s haunting vocals, the track brings space to a record that could easily collapse in on itself. The same can be said for how the title-track uses subtlety to its advantage. Whilst both tracks provide a different sonic palette, they also help deliver a more crushing impact to other cuts on the record, such as the industrial stomp of ‘Hostage’.
Boasting a devastating breakdown and a nuanced use of electronics, ‘Hostage’ is arguably one of the group’s heaviest tracks yet. The fact that it sits next to one of their more pop driven offerings highlights how VCTMS are becoming more and more comfortable in their abilities. Taking both of these elements in ‘New Face // Same Loneliness’ and ‘Suddenly Everything Changed’, soaring clean vocals duel with shredding screams and post-hardcore driven melodies to create another element in the trio’s growing arsenal.
Yet again refusing to repeat themselves, VCTMS have crafted a record that not only continues their evolution but also rewards its audience with multiple listens. From grinding breakdowns, experimental side-steps and big choruses, ‘Volume. 4: Numb The Ache’ delivers something for every type of heavy music fan.