6 years after their self debut EP, Venenum are back. This time with a vengeance. One of the most awaited albums of 2017, for me at least, is about to be released tomorrow, the 17th of March, via the mighty Sepulchral Voice Records.
A 6 years break can mean many things, both good and bad. In Venenum‘s case, the former can surely apply. This hiatus was definitely worth taking since now the band proves to be stronger than ever. “Trance of Death” sort of picks it up from where the EP left it, only to take it even further on this path of darkness. 7 songs, 50 minutes of metal of death and pure madness, this is what we’re dealing here with.
The album starts with a surprising instrumental track, “Entrance“, in which a cello and piano set the mood for what’s next to come. But don’t get fooled by that intro: Venenum‘s music has not softened at all. On the contrary, on “Trance Of Death” we still have the same level of aggression present on the EP, only this time everything’s been wrapped up in a more sophisticated and mature approach.
“Merging Nebular Drapes” starts with some chilling riffs and fast drums parts preparing the listener for that “beyond the grave” voice which spreads death. A creepy piano appears at the end of the song, providing a horror like tune. (The new guitarist D.P. has done a tremendous job with those synths and pianos on this album).
Those years of absence have worked perfectly for the band’s evolution, as the compositions and musicianship have definitely improved. The whole album is a brilliant mix between putrid death metal parts with sharp riffs, crazy drumming and raucous vocals and some mid tempo, atmospheric sections combined with piano, organs and out of this world guitar solos. There’s definitely something different going on here, something which allowed the band to detach from any genres and just play what feels right for them.
Probably the fastest track of the album, “The Nature of the Ground” is an insane combination of all of the above mentioned elements and, with those crazy space effects in the background, i’m pretty sure it will become a live classic.
“Cold Threat” starts in a slow and heavy way, with a guitar solo weeping somewhere in another dimension while a crazy, crescendo tempo builds up to an explosion of riffs and possessed vocals. The ritualistic drumming accompanies this sonic orgy providing the perfect back-up to this Celtic Frost like song.
The last 3 songs of the album are actually the title track split in 3 parts:
“Trance of Death Part I: Reflections”
“Trance of Death Part II: Metanoia Journey”
“Trance of Death Part III: There are Other Worlds”
These 3 parts are the very quintessence of the album, 26 minutes of beautiful insanity put on musical display. While part I contains the same aggression combined with slow, haunting elements, Part II, an instrumental, represents the jewel of this album. A superb song created in darkness, only to shine brighter than any sun. What makes this track immensely beautiful is the way the band was able to create a variety of sounds – eerie guitars, a mysterious Hammond-like organ – and made them flow together into one, cursed melody. In the middle of the song, just when you think that a furious blast beat will destroy you, a wonderful guitar solo explodes in your ears, leaving you in total awe.
The album ends with the longest track, the 14 minutes “There are Other Worlds“, which leaves the listener with a terrifying desire to settle the scores with life and discover those other worlds. A chilling journey through the darkness, this album will satisfy all those who are open minded and appreciate bands like Venenum which are not afraid to expand their musical horizons, to evolve and which do not want to be trapped in the same repetitive state of creation.
For me “Trance of Death” is one of those albums which transmits that feeling of implacable sorrow, crafted in an original, personal way. To release such an album in 2017, when this scene is in such a mess means the band has courage, is not following any trends and is mastering the tools of its trade really well.
I cannot end this review (or whatever the fuck this is) without mentioning the top notch production of the album, which allows every instrument to be perfectly audible, and the superb cover art, done by no other than Timo Ketola, that talented artist who can turn everything into gold with only a touch (of evil genius).
Go and buy this album once it will be out, this is a masterpiece of extreme metal, a must have for all the true, good music lovers out there.
As a bonus, I also linked a video review I made for this album on my YouTube channel “ScrollsofDarmoth“:
Venenum line up:
F.S.A. – vocals, bass, guitar
D.P – guitar, synths
P.T. – guitar
F.J.L. – drums
“Trance of Death” track list:
1. Entrance 2:34
2. Merging Nebular Drapes 8:51
3. The Nature of the Ground 5:38
4. Cold Threat 6:58
5. Trance of Death Part I – Reflections 7:05
6. Trance of Death Part II – Metanola Journey 5:17
7. Trance of Death Part III – There Are Other Worlds 14:08
You can purchase “Trance of Death” from: