Syl's Blog

Music Spotlight - VOLA

Today, I want to share a bit about one of my favorite bands: progressive metal/rock group VOLA.

I'm honestly not sure where I first discovered VOLA. I do know that the first album I heard was Applause of a Distant Crowd, which means I must have discovered them in or after 2018, so I would wager I've been listening to them for about five years.

VOLA is a four-piece originally from Denmark, with their latest drummer, Adam Janzi, hailing from Sweden. The other members are vocalist/guitarist Asger Mygind, keyboardist Martin Werner, and bassist Nicolai Mogensen. They've gone through a few lineup changes over the years, but their sound has remained mostly consistent, although it's become gradually more melodic and experimental as they've progressed.

They're notable for the fact that they feature a keyboardist in Martin, which is something that's fairly uncommon in metal, at least enough to comment on. Bands like Dream Theater, Dimmu Borgir, and Nightwish come to mind, but it's personally always nice when I discover a metal band with a keyboardist, like an extra little treat hidden in the keys and synth lines.

Just this past year, in November of 2022, VOLA came to the US for the first time and I was lucky enough to see them live. It was an intimate venue, and my partner and I snagged two spots right in front of the stage. We got to headbang with Asger and everything. It was a fantastic, unforgettable experience.

VOLA in concert VOLA in concert

Favorite Song

As VOLA are one of my favorite bands, it's unsurprisingly difficult for me to choose a favorite song from them. There are so many that I love off of their previous albums, but their latest album, Witness, stuck out to me so much that I have to choose a song from it, and that song is "24 Light-Years".

It's one of the more mellow songs on the album, but with Asger's ethereal vocals and the bright musical tones, it's just too gorgeous not to choose. There are some wonderful synths running through the back of it and some downright beautiful guitar riffs. But one of my favorite things about the song is that Martin, the aforementioned keyboardist, released a classical piano composition of it to go alongside the full band release, and it emphasizes just how beautiful the musicality of the track is.

Favorite Album

I spoiled this in the previous section, but my favorite VOLA album is their latest release, Witness. Don't get me wrong, I love Inmazes and Applause of a Distant Crowd as well as their EPs, but Witness just really does it for me because it's really where they elevated their sound, and with an album as exciting as it, I can't wait to hear what they'll do in the future.

Witness not only focuses on the things that already made the band great on previous albums -- Asger's soaring vocals, djenty riffs contrasted with bright synths, and Adam Janzi's ever-interesting drumming -- but it also experiments with those things to truly incredible results. The most evident example of this is the song "These Black Claws," which features a hip-hop backbeat and rapper Shahmen, whose words combine with the band's heavy riffs to beautifully intense effect.

Getting to meet Martin at their show in Columbus, OH, was a highlight of my life, especially after listening to his piano rendition of "24 Light-Years" so much that I would've worn it out if it wasn't in digital form. They're one of the first bands that I turn to when I'm having a bad day, knowing that the smooth beauty of their music will lift me up without fail. This is my tribute to VOLA, and I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.