Volcana – Goddess of Flame
Release Date: October 3, 2017
Label: Independent Release
For nearly 13 years, Vic Stown was the brainchild, heart, and soul of NWOTHM masters Vindicator. Releasing some of the finest yet sadly overlooked metal music of the past decade, Vindicator relentlessly put out flawless metal albums but eventually, Stown felt a change in direction. When I hear that an artist that I really admire makes this kind of announcement/decision, I immediately find myself feeling nervous. Will it live up to what said artist has done in the past? Well, I learned very quickly that it’s not about living up to anything that’s already been done. It’s about forging a new path and that is exactly what Stown did with his new band, Volcana. Volcana features Vic Stown on rhythm gutiars/vocals, Jeff Potts (Gygax/ex-Mantic Ritual/ex-Warbringer) on lead guitar, and Glen Monturi (ex-Seven Witches) on bass/drums.
The album opens up with the instrumental intro “The Unwelcome.” As the song intro played on, I felt like a kid ripping open that first layer of wrapping paper on this gift that has been presented to me. Will it be the giant diecast Voltron I always wanted? Will it be an ugly ass pair of pants and socks? Well, as “Scolopendra (Come Forward)” kicked in, I knew right away that this was a gift of epic proportions.
Volacana’s sound is such an exciting yet comfortably familiar sound for me. Instead of the heavy-handed thrash influence, Volcana favors the more melodic Iron Maiden/NWOBHM sound. “Merchant Lord”, “We Stand” and “Drone” are all fantastic representations of this new direction but “Glory or Doom” is, in my opinion the show stopper on this album. With its twin guitar harmonies, synchronized stop/starts and a vibe reminiscent of something we could’ve heard on Master of Puppets, this song really encompassed what I feel like this band is all about.
Another huge difference in Volcana is Stown’s vocals. The vocals really sell it for me with his emotive, gruff, yet clean sound. Being able to hear and understand the lyrics is a huge part of the Volcana experience and to me is what completes it all. If you’re a great musical band but have shitty lyrics, it does nothing for me but when you can complete the package with lyrics that tell a great story and captivate you, you’re doing your job and doing it well.
Volcana isn’t Vic Stown trying to re-write a chapter in a book that he’s been writing for 12 years or so. Instead, Volcana is a brand-new beginning. Vindicator was a powerful entity in their own right but to me, Volcana is the “Game of Thrones” story that Stown has been working toward all these years. Sometimes the best story is the one yet to be told and with Volcana, the story has just begun what, what I hope, will have many more chapters to follow.
Pick up the album at https://volcanametal.bandcamp.com/album/goddess-of-flame