Islander brings the nu-metal world to the front of mainstream trends with their new album Power Under Control, bringing to life a message convey through a story about the power something or someone has over us, and how to control our own destiny.
Islander traps you in their sound with an alternative-punk rock style comparative to Linkin Park, and qualities of rap that open you up to a new idea of heavy metal. Power Under Control ensnared me into analyzing its contents, each song holding its own deep meaning that is hard to unveil.
“Darkness,” the aptly titled first track on the album, made my hair stand on end with its horror-like sampling riddled throughout the intro of the song. The desperate lyrics brought me closer to the darkness, wanting to understand their call for corruption. The switch between screaming and rapping remind me of a desperate need to be understood, and becoming frustrated when social norms road block my personality from shining.
Islander switches it up with their first single from the record, “Bad Guy.” The guitar intro tingles down your neck and moves into a spellbinding tune, mesmerizing you into a trance. Islander’s frontman, Mikey Carvajal, made the message of this song clear by going on record to say:
“The song is about speaking the truth, telling someone something that they need to hear even though it may not be what that person wants to hear.”
“Bad Guy” is so relatable because we’ve all been there. We’ve all had to tell someone that something is wrong, it’s never easy, and we all come out looking like the bad guy in the end.
Not all tracks on this record have a clear meaning like “Bad Guy.” My favorite song, “Beelzebub,” is an alternative-punk trick worth discovering. This track had me scratching my head in confusion. One set of lyrics appear to talk about the church “I know the church is a whore/But she’s my mother/and I love her/there’s not a thing you can say/a price you can pay/to make me think any less of her” and a couple lines later, seem to talk about a government issue. “They want to take my guns away/take me to a place/where I can feel safe/At least that’s what they say.” “A Boat Going By” preludes “Beelzebub,” a short 57-second interlude that gave me a feeling of sadness so strong, I was worried something terrible actually happened (I might have called my loved ones to make sure they were ok.)
Islander’s intentions with this album are spot on. They made it clear to their fans that listening to this album in bits instead of following the track list would leave some of the meaning unclear. I listened to the album both ways to test this theory. Picking a song at random felt like I was trying to capture smoke, getting close to the meaning of life only to have it slip through my fingers. Once I listened to it from their first track “Darkness” through to their last track “Wait For It,” I began to uncover their story.
Whatever message you take from Power Under Control, Islander has presented a gift of an album meant to be unwrapped slowly. It’s a record that in meant to play multiple times before to uncover it’s intent.