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Vaneno – Struggle Through Absurdity

Struggle Through Absurdity
by Eric Poulin at 19 January 2021, 1:56 AM

VANENO is a groove / sludge metal based out of Lisbon, Portugal and who have been around since 2017. This is their debut EP entitled “Struggle Through Absurdity” which was released through Raging Planet Records on November 27th, 2020. It has been a while since I have reviewed or even listened to anything remotely close to the sludge metal genre, so I was definitely curious to see how this band would feast upon the influences of the past and/or differentiate themselves in a genre that has literally exploded over the last 10 years.

The opener “Glorybringer” has the power of PISSING RAZORS or MACHINE HEAD with vocals that would fit with CROWBAR. There is a slight tinge of Max Cavalera in the vocals as well, as they really rely on a very aggressive tone. The guitars are very heavy and do have a fair share of distortion except when they go into full groove mode, which the band really seems to excel at. There is a very distinct clarity in the guitar solo that differs highly from the lower/bass-oriented rhythm parts. It almost sounds like this band came directly out of California, since the overall structure and sonar landscapes are like a time warp to the late 1990s and early 2000s. Another strong point is how they cleverly slow down the riffing in the last minute or so of the song and leave it on a distorted fadeout.

What follows in “Deceiver” has that PANTERA groove we 1990s metal fans absolutely adore, it is dirty and passionate in its intensity and downright powerful. Again, it is crazy how these guys not only manage to take the essence of their music from the early era of groove metal and still make it sound modern. The drums are on this number tend to go a little bit faster in some parts (hence why the band does have the moniker of including some thrashier elements into their songs). While I would not say this song is anywhere near the rapid-fire genre, it relies on a great amount of melodies, which makes it quite different from the previous track.

Being a long-time fan of CORROSION OF CONFORMITY, there is an appeal in that sound that is the backbone of “Ad Nauseum”, a very gritty song that navigates the water between a cleaner guitar sound and the sludgy notes that are the DNA of the genre. The song does not really deviate from its tempo, except when it goes into money riff territory. I find this is where the band really is at their strongest, having that combination of guitar solos, with the down-tuned doom-based riff and keeping the vocal style the same.

And then we have the closer “Nightrider” which begins with some dialogue taken from a movie and is the ultimate thrash concoction on this EP, it is a relentless and violent song that brought me back to the early of the almighty MACHINE HEAD and the great days of PRO-PAIN.

To say the least, this band knows how to go into MMA mode on only 4 songs and close off the EP with pure energy. If this EP is any indication of how unleashed these guys can get than I am certain we will see and hear great things from them once they release a full-length record. If you enjoy any of the bands I mentioned above, I believe you will appreciate the effort and the emotion these musicians put into these 4 pieces of music.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Glorybringer
2. Deceiver
3. Ad Nauseum
4. Nightrider
Pedro Fernandes - Bass
Miguel Nunes - Drums
Eduardo Cunha - Guitars (Lead)
António Tavares - Guitars (Rhythm)
Alexandre Fernandes - Vocals
Record Label: Raging Planet Records


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Edited 05 December 2022

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