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Vola biography
VOLA was founded originally by a group of friends attending a local music school in Copenhagen, Denmark which included founders Asger MYGIND (vocals, guitar) and Martin WERNER (keyboards). Some demo recordings were made in 2006 and then their debut EP "Homesick Machinery" was released in 2008. Nicolai MOGENSEN was asked to join three months after answering an audition call for a bassist.

In 2011, a second EP "Monsters" was released while the band was enjoying some international attention through social media. This EP saw the band experimenting with 7-string guitars and turning to a more groove centered style which ended up working so well that they decided to focus on that style for a full album. The debut album, released in 2015, was titled "Inmazes". Rave reviews were the result and the band was signed to Mascot Records who re-released the album worldwide in 2016. The band ended up touring with KATATONIA and made several festival appearances and even did some headlining shows in the UK.

Adam JANZI was invited to join the band (to replace their former drummer) after the band was impressed by his cover of a MESHUGGAH track on YouTube. In 2018, their second album "Applause of a Distant Crowd" was released. The band then supported DREAM THEATER, ANATHEMA, MONUMENTS and HAKEN on their tours and played in more festivals and also headlined a European tour. In 2021, VOLA released their 3rd full-length album "Witness" which saw them achieve a tighter and heavier sound and focusing on progressive elements.

With progressive metal serving as a foundation especially on their 2021 release, the band grew out of a common interest in eclectic, groove-oriented music which draws inspiration ranging from 70's progressive rock to modern-day electronica, industrial and extreme metal according to their bio on Bandcamp. Their music should appeal to fans of TESSERACT, CALIGULA'S HORSE, GOOD TIGER, HAKEN, ANATHEMA and PORCUPINE TREE.

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VOLA discography

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VOLA top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.90 | 32 ratings
4.08 | 37 ratings
Applause of a Distant Crowd
3.75 | 66 ratings

VOLA Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.67 | 3 ratings
Live from the Pool

VOLA Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

VOLA Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

VOLA Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

4.33 | 3 ratings
Homesick Machinery
4.00 | 2 ratings
4.50 | 2 ratings
4.00 | 2 ratings
October Session
4.00 | 3 ratings
Paper Wolf

VOLA Reviews

Showing last 10 reviews only
 Inmazes by VOLA album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.90 | 32 ratings

Vola Progressive Metal

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Heavy Prog & JR/F/Canterbury Teams

4 stars Who says djent isn't prog? I STRONGLY disagree. Denmark's Vola demonstrates a refreshing album of progressive rock music by melding the keyboard techno-wizardry of the 1980s with an outstanding rhythm section of djenters who absolutely refuse to play anything in a straight time. Think TEARS FOR FEARS or DEPECHE MODE teaming with MESHUGGAH, TOOL, or PROGHMA-C and you'll have a pretty good image for the aural soundscapes these guys paint on Inmazes. The album starts out much more heavily, more djenty, and then starts to show more of the band's 80s synth-pop roots in the second half.

1. "The Same War" (5:19) opens with some truly abrasive industrial djent sound before opening up into a full-on TOOL-like onslaught. When the vocals of guitarist Asger Mygind enter I am immediately struck by the similarity of his tone and sense of melody to that of David Gahan of the 1980s New Wave band, DEPECHE MODE. I need to point out that throughout the album the work of the bass, drums, and djent guitar play is absolutely top notch and amazing. I love the unpredictable syncopated and multi-octave guitar melody at the four minute mark. (9/10)

2. "Stray the Skies" (4:13) opens rather melodically, hooking the listener in with the album's most haunting melody, before sliding into a very heavy, very djenty, almost abrasive A Section. The Chorus returns us to the opening melody and synth chords, but then the following section becomes even more sparsely djenty. Back and forth the music goes, start to finish. Awesome contrast! (9/10)

3. "Starburn" (6:05) opens with some spacey atmospherics joined by an electronic tuned percussion arpeggio before the djent crew brings down the wrecking ball. This one even incorporates some vocal growls/screams. The shift at 1:55 into the melodic and harmonic realm of 1980s New Wave is a bit incongruous and perhaps denotes the weakest moment/transition of the album--the only place where the djent-New Wave partnership might not work. The prolonged guitar djent chord play that plays out over the second half of the song is interesting but never really goes anywhere new or fresh. Unfortunately, this is the album's low point. The good news is: it is virtually its only one! (7/10)

4. "Owls" (5:51) opens with a prolonged TOOL-like drum, bass and guitar section. When the vocalist joins in the band once again tries to marry the melodic, almost syrupy New Wave vocals with the abrasive, syncopated and less-than predictable staccato of its djent rhythm section. Here it works pretty well. Early SIMPLE MINDS on steroids. (8/10)

5. "Your Mind as Helpless Dreamer" (5:21) opens with perhaps the most high energy, ambitious rhythms and pace. Fast-paced midi-ed keyboard chords join in (in a NEW ORDER kind of way) while the vocals are presented with a much heavier, more aggressive fashion--very similar to the wonderful sound and work of Australia's KARNIVOOL. This song is working and barreling along on all cylinders! (10/10)

6. The delicate and techno-edgy "Emily" (3:01) plays out like a very emotional Roland Orzabel (TEARS FOR FEARS) masterpiece--though it has strong DEPECHE MODE leanings, too. Beautiful song. (10/10)

7. "Gutter Moon" (3:55) opens with a treated (compressed) keyboard riff before spilling out with some rather restrained djenty-yet-fuzzy bass and guitars. The B section takes on more of a DREAM ACADEMY/PREFAB SPROUT feel and synth pop sound. Then the djent rhythm section comes out in almost full force as the melody, vocals and synth keys sustain their 1980s sound and feel. Nice, interesting song. (9/10)

8. "A Stare Without Eyes" (4:58) opens heavily, though compressed, before settling into a melody sounding very much like a DEPECHE MODE song, just heavier. The lead vocal starts out heavily treated before coming somewhat forward for the first chorus. By the second A Section all holds have been taken off of the vocal, the song remains heavy but still retains this familiar DEPECHE MODE feel to it--as if the Mode merely upped their angst and aggression and let it show in the treatments of their instruments. Not quite as catchy with melodies here, but a good song. (8/10)

9. "Feed the Creatures" (5:37) opens heavily before letting all abrasive sounds drop away in lieu of sustained organ chords and computer-pop noises acting as percussives to support the delicate Jonas Bjerre (MEW)-like vocals. The heavy chorus at the three minute mark followed by the delicate piano chords and gorgeous soft vocal over the heavier TEARS FOR FEARS-like electro-rhythms is brilliant! Amazing! Great song. GReat blend of sounds and technology of the 80s, 90s and 21st Century. (9/10)

10. "Inmazes" opens with an odd keyboard pulsing between two chords in a straight time before it is joined by fairly straightforward electric guitar playing a fairly dissonant and discordant arpeggio. The tension is enhanced when the full band joins in with its full heaviness and PORCUPINE TREE-like sound (think "Blackest Eyes") and odd time signature playing over the still audible, still pulsing odd keyboard of the opening. The vocals that ensue are very much in the vein of those of DEPECHE MODE's David Gahan or even NEW ORDER's Bernard Sumner. I like the long, even outro, too. Great song! (9/10)

A wonderfully refreshing album from a group of young Danes who are attempting something quite ambitious in their blend of New Wave techno-synth pop with TOOL/MESHUGGAH djent. The point is: They succeed! Wonderfully!

B+/4.5 stars; a near-masterpiece of progressive rock music.

 Witness by VOLA album cover Studio Album, 2021
3.75 | 66 ratings

Vola Progressive Metal

Review by lukretio

3 stars There were big expectations surrounding VOLA's third full-length album earlier this year. The Danish alternative / prog rockers have been growing in popularity in prog circles since their 2015 debut Inmazes, with their 2018 follow-up Applause of a Distant Crowd receiving an even stronger response in the specialized press and webzines. The new LP is a solid effort that further curates VOLA's sound, gently pushing it into more modern progressive djent metal relative to its predecessor, without failing to retain a huge spotlight on melody and accessibility. Seen in light of the anticipation surrounding the album, Witness is however somewhat underwhelming, leaving the marked impression that the band has played it excessively safe on this album, preferring to proceed with comfortable baby steps instead of daring to take giant leaps forward.

Witness is a record built to please the earbuds. It's a highly vocal-centric album, with huge vocal melodies that are catchy and emotional. Lead vocalist Asger Mygind's mellifluous singing is perfectly executed, halfway between falsetto and warm tenor, and with the right amount of vocal effects added to the production to give an electronic and futuristic feel to his voice ("Head Mounted Sideways"). The instrumental background is carefully arranged to exalt the vocal melodies. The guitars play a strongly rhythmic function, with plenty of palm-muted, down-tuned chugs that complement the intricate and hypnotizing grooves of bassist Nicolai Mogensen and drummer Adam Janzi. Meanwhile, Martin Werner keeps his synthesizers busy to add subtle electronic overtones to the songs, again giving the music a strongly modernist vibe.

There are plenty of references to many other contemporary rock and metal acts. The recent work of bands like Leprous, Tesseract, Haken, Agent Fresco, Caligula's Horse, and Voyager all provide suitable reference points for the overall sound of the album, carefully balanced between djenty aggression and highly accessible melodies. Elsewhere, the influence of Porcupine Tree surfaces on songs like "Freak", especially in the gorgeous, carefully arranged backing vocals harmonies. Countrymen Mew are another influence when it comes to the smooth vocal melodies. "Stone Leader Falling Down" pushes on the accelerator introducing some quasi-growls, for what is probably the heaviest piece of the LP. Meanwhile, "These Black Claws" flirts with hip hop and rap music and features a guest spot by Dutch hip hop duo Shahmen. This is perhaps the most daring episode of the whole album. Considering that metal bands have been experimenting with rap and hip hop for at least two decades now, this gives a good measure of how few boundaries this album actually pushes.

This is eventually my main gripe with Witness. I cannot shake off the impression that everything here is being played in the safest possible way, taking as few risks as possible and trying to please as many fans as possible. There's nothing wrong with trying to increase one's fanbase, of course. But I get slightly uncomfortable when I sense that this was the main driving strategy behind the songwriting. Because almost inevitably this implies a sacrifice in terms of depth and originality. Alas, Witness is no exception and it is hard to get past a feel of vague dj-vu as one goes through the 44 minutes of the album. Witness sounds exactly as you'd expect a near-perfect progressive djent metal to sound. This is, in a sentence, the main strength and main weakness of the record.

 Witness by VOLA album cover Studio Album, 2021
3.75 | 66 ratings

Vola Progressive Metal

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Heavy Prog & JR/F/Canterbury Teams

3 stars Denmark's current national prog treasure returns with their third album since 2014.

1. "Straight Lines" (4:22) after an awesome opening, the song develops like a heavier BROTHER APE tune until 1:45 when there is an interesting turn before settling back into a variation of the opening rhythm for the second verse and chorus. Some cool little twists in the second half keep it lively and interesting. We're off to a good start! My first top three song. (8.75/10)

2. "Head Mounted Sideways" (5:34) the djenty bass and guitars are amped up for this one--a kind of industrial metal sound. Synths and synthesized vocal continue the industrial future vibe before the "normal" voices and sounds appear for the chorus. As with the previous song, there are some very cool and interesting twists and turns-- including a CURT SMITH-like vocal in the hushed middle and the thick synth-chords used for the instrumental solo section after the second chorus--and then the long-sustained growl-scream in the first half of the fifth minute. Great ending. Excellent song. A top three song for me. (9/10)

3. "24 Light-Years" (4:32) opens with heavily treated chords of glass/toy piano-sounding percussives before tom-tom rhythm is established with synth for Asger to sing in a very sensitive, airy voice. Very different from the other songs on the album--especially with its spacey, non-djenty foundation. Even when the djenty sounds do enter--in the third minute--they're controlled to take up less space. Interesting. (8.5/10)

4. "These Black Claws" (5:52) another odd opening with synth riffs and drum machine leading the way for the first sparsely populated 20 seconds. Then it seems as if all hell breaks loose as a wall of djent chords fills the soundscape. But then, surprise, the djent stops and we return to the odd, untuned synth motif of the opening over which Asger sings--until rapper Shahmen adds his shtick. Creative but weird. I'm not convinced that this works. Even after repeated listens--as I get used to the weirdness--I'm not finding myself anymore enamored (or repelled)-- though I have found myself really enjoying the heaviness of the final 90 seconds. (8.5/10)

5. "Freak" (4:50) backing away from heaviness, the band steps back into a kind of modern TEARS FOR FEARS sound for this one. Perhaps a little mores spacious and simplistic than a Tears song, the melodies are allowed to win out on all levels here. Nice little Steven Wilson feel during the guitar solo. A pleasant, innocuous song that, unfortunately, does nothing great for me. Would that I hear the lyrics. (8.5/10)

6. "Napalm" (4:58) great bass lines and keyboard play. Not my favorite vocal--and definitely not a great chorus-- which is then repeated ad nauseum. (8.5/10)

7. "Future Bird" (4:35) stripped down music-scape over which Asger sings in a sensitive voice during the first verse. The band amps up for the chorus before shutting down for a very cool little transition back to verse #2--over which Asger continues to sing in his pleasing voice. Very nice sound with some really nice touches but, ultimately, the song doesn't really go anywhere--even uses an overly-long fade over the repeating chorus to end the song. (8.75/10)

8. "Stone Leader Falling Down" (4:23) sounds like Proghma-C during the first verse. Keyboard strings drench the soundscape during the chorus. Vocal sounds like 80s Tears for Fears and/or Depeche Mode. Cool instrumental coda at the end of the third minute. (8.75/10)

9. "Inside Your Fur" (5:00) opens with music that sounds almost exactly like that of the previous--especially in the rhythm section. Love hearing Asger's voice during the quieter first verse. I love the tuned percussion interlude at the end of the third minute before returning to the amped up chorus. Great composition, top to bottom. A top three song for me. (9/10)

Total Time 44:06

I remember feeling so disappointed with the way Asger backed off on his vocal intensity--how the vocals were mixed so deeply within the weaves of many of the songs on 2018's Applause of a Distant Crowd as compared to those of their debut, Inmazes.

B-/3.5 stars; an interesting collection of sophisticated and nuanced songs. Recommended for fans of their previous albums.

 Witness by VOLA album cover Studio Album, 2021
3.75 | 66 ratings

Vola Progressive Metal

Review by Gallifrey

4 stars Listening diary 3rd July, 2021: Vola - Witness (djent, 2021)

I'm glad to see Vola carve themselves a niche in the prog metal mainstream (if such a thing exists) with this album - although the whole djent thing was played out even before their genre-bending debut came out, the other elements of their sound are undeniably worth celebrating. The melodic and harmonic language here, as has been the case on their other albums, has almost entirely been borrowed from fellow Danes Mew - and that's not a bad thing. Mew's ability to craft catchy but peculiar vocal melodies is second to none, and Vola have applied it seamlessly to a metal framework. And even though you can argue that this album wears its influences very strongly, the combination of those influences is truly unique, and anyone making music as catchy as this gets a plus in my book, no matter how generic.

7.3 (4th listen)

Part of my listening diary from my facebook music blog -

 Witness by VOLA album cover Studio Album, 2021
3.75 | 66 ratings

Vola Progressive Metal

Review by alainPP

4 stars This is VOLA! Danes who come to surf on the new progressive wave of the 2020s. A young, recent, current music, a music which will seek its musical rhythm on the 70's for the tone, for the atmosphere; which declines it by incorporating electronic keys, new-wave keys of the 80's; who mixes it all up and throws it in with riffs, techno-prog energy. So we actually have a sound that can make you think of DEPECHE MODE at the start, yes there were good things during the 80's. Afterwards I would see the MESHUGGAH for the violence of the titles. Last but not least I will see my little proteges from LEPROUS, even HAKEN for the colorful and progressive djent flights with the electronic side revisited in the different titles.

An album much more complex than it seems, to continue to listen to the spirit of prog nowadays, an album that can be listened to as a concept with a sequence of titles which happily passes to peaceful rhythms and to d other very heavy, an album to listen to for energy and rest too.

 Witness by VOLA album cover Studio Album, 2021
3.75 | 66 ratings

Vola Progressive Metal

Review by nick_h_nz
Collaborator Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

4 stars [Originally published at The Progressive Aspect]

In February 2015, Danish band VOLA released their debut album, Inmazes. It so enamoured the admin of a Facebook prog page I followed that he posted about the band for weeks on end, urging everyone to give Inmazes a listen. The album was self-released and 'Name Your Price' on Bandcamp. I succumbed in April, but it was immediately clear I was no fool. Inmazes was an incredible slab of sound, playing both beauty and the beast. Melodic Meshuggah? Djent Depeche Mode? It came as no surprise when it was picked up by a record label and re-released the following year. I'm not one of those people who get upset when a band finds success, and I really enjoyed seeing the deserved attention VOLA was starting to get. Fast forward a couple of years, and there was quite a buzz, before the release of VOLA's second album, Applause of a Distant Crowd. This album seemed to be quite a Marmite album for many, different enough from the debut, that people seemed to love it or hate it.

One of the greatest changes in VOLA between the two albums wasn't the sound, per se, so much as who was making it. The band had a change of drummer, with Adam Janzi taking over the sticks from Felix Ewert. His presence was perhaps understated due to what some people considered the lightweight nature of Applause of a Distant Crowd compared with Inmazes. Personally, I'd go with uplifting, rather than lightweight, Applause? often being unabashedly upbeat. Regardless, it meant a direct comparison of drumming styles wasn't as simple as it might otherwise have been, but to my ears, Janzi was a beast. You can't djent without technical polyrhythms, and I loved what I heard from him - but with almost Gilmour-esque guitars at times, along with the expected massive choruses and vast synth soundscapes, it felt like Janzi never quite had the chance to really show his chops.

And so we reach 2021, and third album Witness, which quite simply blows away everything that came before. Before its release, VOLA had promised a return to a heavier sound, but Witness actually takes the best aspects of both previous albums and blends them together in a spectacular burst of synergy. Witness is most definitely greater than the sum of its parts, and will be a very hard album for VOLA to follow. Any thoughts that the band might have lost its edge, as some claimed after the release of Applause? are swiftly evaporated when the bass and drums kick in ? and this is definitely the album where Janzi gets to show his chops and prove he is the best drummer VOLA has had. Nicolai Mogensen's thick bass riffs are mean as &@#. But as he has been from the start, the star of the show is the beautiful melodious voice of Asger Mygind. He reminds me a little of Arnr Dan (of Agent Fresco) or Einar Solberg (of Leprous), but doesn't really sound like either. His vocals soar over the music, bringing a levity, no matter how dark and heavy it gets.

The only other original member of VOLA is keyboard player Martin Werner, and it's the atmospheres he creates that really make VOLA something different. No matter how wonderful Mygrind's vocals are, no matter how chunky Mogensen's bass is, no matter what a monster Janzi is, VOLA would lose a lot of their magic without the keys. With hard hitting and intricate drumming taking off in odd signatures, and the bass and guitar driving the songs forward in syncopated strikes, it is largely up to Werner to carry the melody, often taking the lead while the guitar djents along with the drum and bass (Mygind again, who has been the sole guitarist in the band since 2012). After a heavy hitting one two punch from Straight Lines and Head Mounted Sideways, there is a slight reprieve with 24 Light-Years.

The next track, These Black Claws, is going to be the one everyone talks about. It's a collaboration with Dutch hip hop duo Shahmen. There has always been an electronic aspect to VOLA's sound, and honestly for me this isn't too greatly different. I expect that many may not find this collaboration to their taste, but I love it, and it's easily one of my favourite songs on the album. The hip hop sounds mesh easily with the progressive djent, and it works better than any Korn-style nu-metal (who never managed to combine hip hop and metal as well as VOLA and Shahmen have here). I mentioned Depeche Mode earlier, and that's because when I first heard Inmazes Depeche Mode was the first band that came to my mind. But, apart from the hip hop, These Black Claws is probably the closest they've come to sounding like Depeche Mode ? or, at the very least Ulver in Assassination mode.

Changing direction completely, Freak is a beautifully soundscaped ballad. It's pure pop and it's gorgeous ? and it surprises me how much I love it. Napalm, despite the title, begins as if it is going to be more of the same ? before turning and churning into a song that wouldn't be out of place on Applause of a Distant Crowd. If you weren't a fan of that album, you probably won't be such a fan of this song, but if you were, it's another great wee tune. Future Bird is heavier, but still has an Applause? vibe. What these two tracks do, though, is really show how far VOLA have progressed in the mastery of their sound. Everything about Napalm and, especially, Future Bird is richer and fuller than the previous albums. The many layers of sound are more nuanced and balanced. The album ends as it began with two heavier songs. Everything about the album is spot on: the composition, the performance, the production, the sequencing. As I said earlier, Witness blows away everything that came before. Only one question remains: How will VOLA ever follow this?

Thanks to tcat for the artist addition.

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