ISLANDER in 2016 is a new breed of monster, certain to leave every witness a believer. Founding member and vocalist Mikey Carvajal was joined by Love And Death guitarist J.R. Bareis in 2014, leading the band on a powerful new path. The seeds of this relationship were planted during 2014’s Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Fest, when word of ISLANDER’s explosive performances quickly spread to the tour’s headliners Avenged Sevenfold and Korn – who flocked to watch the band almost daily. Bareis, who was then guitar tech for Korn’s Brian “Head” Welch, soon found himself in the role as ISLANDER’s new guitar player.
Shortly thereafter, ISLANDER recruited bassist Zeke Vasquez (ex-ForeverAtLast), as well as newly exited Avenged Sevenfold skinsman Arin Ilejay became a permanent fixture in the band.
In February of 2016, ISLANDER “without question” partnered again with producer Cameron Webb (Motorhead, Alkaline Trio) at NRG Studios, and over the next eight weeks the newly ignited foursome got to work on Power Under Control, recording twelve original tracks that showcase the quartet’s deeper complexion.
“We would not move on to the next song until we were finished with the song we were working on,” explains Carvajal on the albums alignment. “This is an album which follows a character through a story. The songs stand on their own. If someone really wants to know the real meaning behind one of the songs, they have to listen to the song prior to the one they are listening to.”
Exploding out of the gate with “Darkness,” the track infuses spidery drum patterns and attacks with ferocious honesty. From other stand-outs like the punky workout “Green Slime Man,” the reggae-drenched outro to “All We Need,” to the swaggering rhythm of “Casket,” ISLANDER’s flavorful recipe is just as much about attitude as it is musical ingenuity.
Carvajal continues, “Our friend HR from the legendary Bad Brains is on a track called “Think It Over,” which is destined to be a live favorite with its rally cry anthem, a track encouraging the youth to take power under control, make good choices and to stay strong in this crazy world.”
“These guys might be the new force in rock,” asserted Alternative Press, as ISLANDER garnered worldwide press accolades since 2014’s breakout debut album Violence & Destruction. The group had three consecutive singles climb to the Top 25 on national rock radio charts, and their videos and streams are in the millions. These developments led to full scale tours with some of rocks elite, totaling nearly 300 shows since the debut – Korn, P.O.D., Papa Roach, Seether, Suicide Silence, Atreyu, and the 2014 Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival. “Mayhem 2014 was the first mainstream tour we did. Quickly, we learned a lot about being a band,” confesses Carvajal. “We were home less than two months within just one year.” 2015 saw ISLANDER invited to perform at some of the biggest rock festivals in the country – Rock On The Range, Aftershock, Louder Than Life, Rocklahoma and Shiprocked to name a few.
When asked if this feels like a new life for ISLANDER, Carvajal states, “We can’t describe just how refreshed we feel with our new lineup. Everyone was playing in different bands, we met on tour and as we had to make some changes in the band for the better, we found ourselves with this lineup. It’s our sophomore release, but it really feels like the excitement of a debut release all over again.”
“Power Under Control is the link that will find its way into the darkest parts of our fans inner selves and bring light to them.”