American Nu-Metal Band Islander Crank It Up on ‘Power Under Control’
Comprising members who have previously worked with Avenged Sevenfold and KoRn, the South Carolina band’s second album is a diverse take on the notorious genre
Whether you like it or not, nu-metal has turned out to live on longer than a lot of other post-Y2K phenomena, with guitarists in snapbacks and baggy cargos still rocking out downtuned riffs. As South Carolina band Islander’s vocalist Mikey Carvajal screams, “You can’t change me/Don’t try to change me/This is who I am” on “Darkness,” the opening track off their second album Power Under Control, you realize nu-metal is here to stay.
Thankfully, nu-metal has had its share of evolved thinkers ”“ yes, you have to club together masterstrokes by alt metal bands such as DeftonesÂ and early Incubus with KoRn’sÂ turn to dubstep on 2011’s The Path to Totality and Papa Roach’s djent-leaning 2015 album F.E.A.R. Incidentally, Islander came together formally in 2011, after jamming together since 2006, thanks to KoRn bassist Fieldy [akaÂ Reginald Arvizu]. He introduced drummer Arin Ilejay [then a drummer with melodic metallers Avenged Sevenfold] to Islander in 2014. The next connection comes with guitarist J.R. Bareis, who is also part of KoRn axeman Brian “Head” Welch’s solo project Love & Death.
Islander are exactly the kind of band who’ll make you draw an instant comparison to nu-metal peers such as P.O.D., but then follow up with something as catchy as “Bad Guy” and turn up the rage levels with a hardcore one-minute smasher like “Green Slime Man.” The 12-track Power Under ControlÂ swerves into uplifting rap metal [“Better Day”], corrosive dissonant anthems [“Devil Red”], ominous hymns [“Beelzebub,” which occasionally cuts loose into the most angst-ridden screams from Carvajal] and a somewhat confused wandering into pop melodies [“Think It Over”]. But more for the most part, Power Under Control has all the makings of how to grow out of nu-metal clichÃ©s the right way ”“ with a lot of rage, Carvajal even pointedly asking, “Where is your sting?” on “Casket,” because 12 tracks down, they’re definitely done convincing us.
Key tracks: “Darkness,” “Beelzebub” “Devil Red”
Stream ‘Power Under Control’ viaÂ Victory Records. Pre-order on iTunes.