Saturday, February 25, 2012

Venenum-Venenum EP

Sweden is mustering waves of buzzsaw guitar mayhem while the States are coming with an onslaught of filthy Incantation/Autopsy worshippers. So where the hell is Germany? Has their fine brand of black and death metal in the nineties suddenly all faded into dust? Not necassarily. After hearing Venenum, I had new hope for the German metal scene, death and black in particular. Venenum's doomy style of a forlorn death and black metal hybrid is certainly some of the most refreshing of its kind I have heard in a long time. While the whole aura is dominated is with a dark and chaotic black metal atmosphere, distorted guitars rage in the background tormenting listeners as they do.

This may be an EP, but with its twenty-eight minute lenght, it is nothing short of a ''Reign In Blood''. Though unlike the genre-defining masterpiece, the songs on this mini-album can range from eight minutes to a mere thirty seconds. The disappointing thing is that while only a handful of songs have great lenght the other few tend to be acoustic passages, nonetheless very well done. This whole EP is a twisted journey of old school death metal with a black metal touch and a hint of thrash metal, with a beautiful raw recording, but not too raw. The songs are tiring at first but that just shows that this album is not for everyone. It is a very tiresome piece of music though executed in a very professional way, and it clearly shows that Venenum love their music. The album is a thrilling experiance filled harmoniously darkened melodies, doomy passages, a chaotic black metal feel and furious onslughts of raw power and energy. So without further due, let's examine this specimen more closely.

Despite being a death metal album(in its most basic terms), there are very few sections on this album that make you feel like banging your head. It may be hard to accept at first, but then you realise that that's the beauty of it. The music is almost always played at a steady pace so the riffs never tend to change their tempo too much. The riffs resemble black metal as much as they do death metal with their chaotic and totally disastrous feel. The song structures are unconventional, and the vocals don't really for too long. Despite being so raw, the riffs are actually quite technical at times and show that musicianship should be never avoided no matter what music you play. The production, as I mentined before is raw but all instruments are still always quite audiable and clear. ''Lunar Tombfields'' is much obviously the most savage track on the album. Its assault of tremolo chugs and pounding thrash mayhem along with amazing intesity and energy prevail until the very end of its six minutes. Though sometimes the track may border around doom, the intensity is still highly existent in the melodious harmonies. It actually does tend to slow down near the fourth minute, however the energy is only transferred to the epic feel of the song.

With most of the album being doomy and sludgy, the drums are obviously slow too. However they show incredible talent throughout any part of the album, let it be tremolo assaults or doom-laden passages, the drums spew forth talent and technique along with furious pounds. The drummer likes using cymbals alot, to emphasize the epic and insane feel of the black metal feel. With so long instrumental sections on the album, the vocalist never gets to really stand out. He sings in a blurry way, and shreiks out the vocals in a low tone. He can make the album a whole lot better, for some reason he doesen't want to. He rarely appears on the songs, but when he does, he does a fine job of spreading chaos and menace, and still sounds alot like a straightforward black metal shreiker, while sometimes doing growls to keep the death metal tag on.  The acoustic medleys are used as a sort of passage to separate songs, and still succesfully giving a miserable feel, which is probably the porpuse all along. The medleys are well constructed arpeggios made by using only minor notes and preparing the listener before the main impact.

Venenum's seld titled EP has managed to create a large hole in the much growing black/death metal scene, especially the developing scene in Germany. If you like your black metal mixed with bestial death metal and played the ancient way then this EP is certainly for you. It is a tiring piece of music and even tormneting to those who cannot appreciate it to the fullest. For me it is finely crafted, and once turned into an album it will place Venenum as one of the better death metal bands who fuse together the savagery of death metal and the doomy and chaotic ways of black metal. Like all of the things listed above, and you will no doubt be pleased with this raw death metal record that undeniably inherits their predecessor's power.

Lunar Tombfields
Crown Of Reversion
Sacrosanct Transcendence

Rating: 87,5%

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