Venia - In Our Weakness
You know, I knew there was something special about this band when I reviewed their previous EP, Genesis. Yeah, they were rough around the edges, and I did do a bit of complaining about the female vocals...about which, one of the members in the band e-mailed and wanted to know more specifically what I didn't like about them. Well, fast forward to the present and Venia is now releasing a new EP on Bombworks Records, and that special feeling I had about the band is started to evolve and take shape into something I'm really starting to enjoy. Are they still rough around the edges? Well, I think in places they are. But this band shows a jump in maturity with this EP and they are really starting to become a band that will be one to keep in eye on.
If you haven't had the chance to hear Venia before, they are a female fronted band from Finland that plays melodic power metal with a thrash feel at times. And this time around, they even venture in to new territory with some extreme thrash/screamed/slightly growled vocals by both lead singer Veronica and guitarist Jere. Veronica's vocals show much improvement here. She let's herself go more on this album...like she's been able to shed those chains that held her back on the last demo. The level of passion and feeling in her vocals is much more apparent as well. While she still sounds a tad shaky at times, I think she'll do nothing but improve as the band continues recording albums. And by golly if she doesn't throw in some thrashy screams at times that sound pretty good. Musically, the band continues to improve with some shredding and aggressive guitar playing and double-bass filled drumming. Speaking of aggression, the kick behind these songs is much harder than on their last demo. The band has kicked it up a notch and I'm loving it. The songs here not only sound more brutal, but they have more character and staying power. The standout cut is easily the song, "The Path". This track just kicks me in the butt everytime I hear it! The song opens with plodding, heavy guitars as Matthew 28:18-20 is spoken faintly in the background. Then...they rock! The extreme, dueling male and female vocals on the verses along with the fierce and frantic guitar playing sound great as they lay out the path for the plodding chorus with calmer, clean female and male vocals. This is definitely one of my favorite songs of the year so far and one that I hope signals the future direction of the band. You just can't help but scream along in forceful fashion with the lyrics of "The armies of heaven and hell/are marching around you, can't you tell?/Will you pick up your sword, join the good fight?/Or will you be cast out by the evil might?" Good stuff!
As for the rest of the package, the artwork is decent with a little bit too much of an amateur, cartoon-ish feel, but hey...compared to the stick figures I'd probably end up drawing, it looks great! The CD booklet is nicely done with band pictures and lyrics (and the one song in Finnish has the English translation supplied). Then there is the production, which shows good improvement over the last album. You can feel free to crank this one up!
It's always great to see bands build upon their strengths and learn from their weakness to create a work of art full of sweat and desire. Venia has a bright future ahead of them and you'll do good to jump on the band wagon now.
Review By: Matt Morrow
Label: Bombworks Records
Total Songs: 5
Total Time: 25:01
Tracklisting: 1. Kaipuu, 2. Illusion, 3. The Path, 4. Heikko, 5. No More.
Best Songs: Track 3
Band Lineup: Veronica Fagerlund - Vocals/Violin, Viktor Fagerström - Lead & Rhythm Guitar/Background Vocals, Jere Veijalainen - Rhythm Guitar/Extreme Male Vocals, Juhani Palttala - Bass/Background Vocals, Daniel Puolimatka - Drums.
Band Website: http://www.veniaband.com