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Venefixion – A Sigh from Below Award winner

A Sigh from Below
by Gary Hernandez at 30 October 2021, 8:43 PM

VENEFIXION is a Death metal quintet based out of Brittany, France. They formed in 2013, released their demo, “Defixio,” in 2015 followed by their EP, “Armorican Deathrites,” in 2016, and a split with POSSESSION in 2019. Along the way, despite inevitable lineup changes, the band has maintained its commitment to the craft of brutal death metal. On October 1, 2021, they released their debut full-length album, “A Sigh from Below,” through Iron Bonehead Productions. The album features nine tracks, including a remake of “Aghori's Ashes of the Dead” from their original demo and a short intro piece by Cyril L'Hostis (VAISSEAU).

The album opens with “Resurrection,” a discordant ambient piece which affords scant breathing space for listeners to prepare for the upcoming onslaught. With a dual guitar assault, a breakneck rhythm section, and hellwrought guttural vocals, VENEFIXION is anything but ambient. The tone of unease which the intro strikes is later restoked in track three, “Of Wolves and Ghosts,” with a clip of Klaus Kinski intoning the classic line, “Time is an abyss profound as a thousand nights” from the 1979 film, "Nosferatu the Vampyre," and then again with track seven, “Subterranean Deathspell,” a haunting, atmospheric instrumental piece.

The nine tracks (full runtime 35:30) are surprisingly expansive with multimovement compositions exploring a wide range of tempos, phasing, and even styles. Guest appearances add further diverse flourishes with solos on "Clavicula Salomonis" performed by Michel Dumas (AGRESSOR) and additional vocals on "As Light Goes Astray" by Nathaniel Colas (DIONYSIAQUE). All of this creates a surprisingly nuanced approach that is only further amplified by the brilliant production. Simply put, this isn’t your typical Death Metal barrage of blast beats and overdubbed distortion.

As a final touch, the cover art, rendered by Jack Welch at SeventhBell Artwork, is both striking and iconic. It’s one of those pieces that is best seen in full vinyl album size to appreciate its rich detail. The band has collaborated with Welch on all three of their releases.

There is not a bad track on this album. If I had to list personal favorites, I’d go with “Ways to the Netherworld,” “Aghori's Ashes of the Dead,” and “As Light Goes Astray.” Altogether, “A Sigh from Below” is a superb offering that will draw listeners back over and over again. With COVID beginning to show signs of receding, we can only hope VENEFIXION will be destroying nearby stages soon.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 8
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1.  Resurrection
2.  Veneficial Upheaval
3.  Of Wolves and Ghosts
4.  Ways to the Netherworld
5.  Clavicula Salomonis
6.  Summoned and Defiled
7.  Subterranean Deathspell
8.  Aghori's Ashes of the Dead
9.  As Light Goes Astray
K. Desecrator – Drums
R. Cadaver – Vocals
J. Obscene – Guitars
M. Abomination – Bass
Reido – Guitars
Record Label: Iron Bonehead Productions


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Edited 05 February 2023

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