In the good old USA, it seems that the ‘Hard Rock’ bands are an established part of the Rock scene. Bands like Seether, Three Days Grace, Breaking Benjamin, Stone Sour, Papa Roach, Shinedown and many more seem to be commonplace. With song structures that lean towards the more accessible pop music world juxtaposed by distorted guitars rooted in alternative rock and metal, the versatility of the genre generally garners popularity fairly easily – and is indeed the entry point into “heavier” music for many misunderstood teenagers (surely no one can listen to Linkin Park forever?). This is a genre that, with the ascencion of all the “core” genres – post hardcore and metalcore in particular – that seems to be relatively untouched in the local scene. That is, with the exception of Volume Conflict.
Volume Conflict. Not just the description of how my ears feel whenever they see my earphones and iPod. These boys are a Hard Rock band (in the true sense of the word) from Port Elizabeth (yes, you read that right). There’s a lot to be interested in when hearing about these lads. There’s an incredible tale of hope and perseverance, there’s a sound unlike anything South Africa’s heard since Saron Gas – something that could admittedly be taken as either positive or negative. There’s also the reality that this humble collective are some of the nicest guys that you’d ever meet! But, this is about the music and, as one of the first local bands added to the Ozone playlist, the wait to see them live had been almost a year in the making. Having missed them at Rock The River, I headed out to ROAR curious…and amped!
I was expecting a band similar to those mentioned above, with an “edge” but still one that tended closer to Seether than good old Saron Gas. The last time I was this wrong was when I expected the Springbok Nude Girls to be strippers! Volume Conflict are what I wish Seether had become – and I enjoyed their show as much as any other I’ve seen. It was great to see something different in the local scene, a true fusion of “pop” structures wrapped tightly in rock and metal. There was not a “weak” moment, not a note out of place – a truly polished performance. I enjoyed each track, and left upset that I didn’t already have some of the new ones. Each track was delivered with true passion, genuinely heartfelt angst and emotion which – to me anyway – elevates music. Personally, I am a fan of a well-placed scream in hard rock, and VC delivered just that! Their energy was great to watch as well, particularly their bass player, who would probably explode if nailed down!
These boys are undoubtedly a band to keep an eye on, and an absolute must to catch live. Yes, they’re playing a style of Rock/Metal that isn’t the “in” thing right now, but that doesn’t detract from what they do – passionate, raw, honest hard rock. They’re firmly established as one of my favourite local bands, and they should be one of yours too! I can’t wait for an album, another tour and eventually only getting to see VC once or twice a year, because they’re not in South Africa anymore. True, no one knows what the future holds, but when that happens…you read it here first.