Arriving from the depths of Hamilton, Ontario, Voltang are here to bring you their self-created genre of “Raunch and Roll” with the release of their first album Hermaphroditē. Running a short length of approximately 25 minutes, Voltang don’t overstay their welcome. Instead, they choose to come in, mess with your head, and leave before you know what hit you. It’s hardcore music, but throws rock, metal, and even blues influences into the mix.
The album opens with the title track of the record, “Hermaphroditē.“ Don’t be fooled by the quiet, creepy piano intro: this song is a rager of an opener with relentless instrumentation and vocals. The second track “Helicopter Girl” brings the rage as much as the first track does, but blends in soaring melodies and pinch harmonics, reminiscent of something Cancer Bats might play. It also ends with a fantastic little acoustic outro. I’d actually love to hear these guys play an entire song like that.
“Snake Charmer” is filled with plenty of lead guitar and solos, courtesy of guitarists Evan Dreager and Robin Gaskin, who continuously bring technical and melodic riffs throughout the record. “Sticky Sticky” is definitely one of the more strange tracks on the record, with vocals that sound like a bizarre mix of Elvis and Marilyn Manson, if such a thing can be imagined. It works perfectly for the track, however.
Midway through the record, “Piggly Wiggly” and “Mr. Time Machine Man” shows that these guys have no interest in slowing things down. These tracks are the head-banging party songs of the record, and make me wonder how insanely fun their live shows must be.
“Kingfisher,” in my opinion, is the standout track. It’s a simple track that just pummels away slowly with a ploddingly heavy, doom-like trance, showing off the strength of the bass and drums that carry the band courtesy of Dan Serre and Paul Maxwell. The record ends with the track “Fuck Yeah.” I’d say that’s a very appropriate title, considering that’s exactly what I said when I was finished listening to this record.
What I especially loved about this record is the incredible diversity. I can see Voltang playing shows with Converge, as much as I can see them playing shows with Black Sabbath. Lead singer Jack Reimer is fantastic at weaving in and out of chaotic shouting and singing. As a matter of fact, the entire band is insanely good at manoeuvring their songs into completely different areas so seamlessly. At its core, it may be a “hardcore” record, but there’s so much more to it, and that’s what makes “Hermaphrodite” a truly interesting record to listen to.
Written by Dominic Abate
*edited by Kate Erickson