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Venenum - Trance of Death Award winner

Trance of Death
by Lauren Fonto at 09 August 2017, 7:13 AM

 “Trance of Death” is one of the albums I listened to earlier this year, and unfortunately it got somewhat lost in the shuffle of trying to get to other anticipated albums. It’s only now that I’ve fully realized what a great musical achievement this album is. The album is undeniably Death Metal at its core, yet this is certainly a unique iteration of the genre. Something that jumped out at me immediately is the excellent production – the parts feel so expansive, even when heard through ordinary earbuds. I can imagine how listening on better sound equipment would elevate the listening experience to the sublime.

This album is full of surprising twists, in a good way – there’s a confidence in VENENUM’s songwriting, which elevates them above those who throw in random slow passages for the sake of sounding interesting. “The Nature of the Ground” – one of my favourite tracks – is a good example of the band’s strong songwriting ability. Its intro is like a whirlwind, and then the track settle into a catchy main riff with rich bass parts. The vocals surge forth, and the drum rolls have a deep resonance to them. The guitar solo has a “call-and-response” feel, and later a gong ushers in whirlwind melodies once more. “Cold Threat” balances things out with a slower tempo. The reverb-filled solo is beautifully done.

Parts II and III of “Trance of Death” (“Metanola Journey” and “There Are Other Worlds…”, respectively) show a softer aspect of the band’s sound. “Metanola Journey” opens with quiet melodies, and minimalist drum work. The melancholy riffs that follow have a black metal sound, and the 70s-style organ makes an interesting contrast against the more typical black metal elements. The guitar solo is full of passion, and a joy to hear. The soft, almost whimsical intro to “There Are Other Worlds…” is an effective decoy for the unexpected black metal part that comes storming in to jolt the listener upright. The lyrics on this track, and others, were fascinating; even if I can’t discern all of the lyrics in a track, I do appreciate it when artists put effort into this aspect. The track is another testament to the band’s excellent songwriting ability; the song switches effortlessly from more forceful parts to quiet, progressive-metal-like interludes. The solo after the first quiet interlude blazes with such an intensity that it was impossible not to be moved by it. For me, the keyboard effects in the coda conjured up the vastness of the cosmos in a melody.

Having given this album multiple listens, I’m convinced that I’ll be coming back to it in the months to come. “Trance of Death” is a multilayered work that is ever-fluid, and remolds itself in ways that are always engaging.

Songwriting: 10
Originality: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Entrance
2. Merging Nebular Drapes
3. The Nature of the Ground
4. Cold Threat
5. Trance of Death, Part I - Reflections
6. Trance of Death, Part II – Metanola Journey
7. Trance of Death, Part III – There Are Other Worlds…
F.S.A – Vocals, Bass
H.L. – Songwriting (tracks 2, 3, 5)
F.J.L. – Drums
P.T. – Guitars
D.P. – Guitars, Keyboards
Record Label: Sepulchral Voice Records


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