Venuvian - Lost review
|Release date:||January 2023|
01. The Flames' Dance
05. New Life
08. Guilt's Eye
09. The Calling
10. Lost [feat. Felicia Gullstrand]
Of all the ways I encounter new music, recommendations sliding into my DMs from certain users can offer up some of the most intriguing records. Sometimes I get forwarded an album and am left wondering what the hell anyone could see in it, but every so often someone recommends me a genuinely solid record that I otherwise wouldn’t have found by myself in a month of Sundays.
Lost is the debut album from Swedish sextet Venuvian, and unless you fancy me giving an image-by-image breakdown of their Instagram page, that’s basically all the background I can give you for this record, as I found a grand total of sweet FA in terms of reviews, news articles or any other coverage of the group. Lost was delivered into my inbox (cheers to prnzokoshiroltra) with a request to review it and another new record; while I got 5 minutes into 80w Zoe and felt compelled to turn it off, I was surprisingly taken with Venuvian on first listen, and ultimately decided that I’d be happy to publish what appears to be the first review of Lost.
In terms of style, Lost is exactly the right level of ‘hard to pin down’ for a newly emerging group. I would say that Venuvian linger somewhere between the realms of alternative metal (particularly of the Gojira variety), metalcore and death-leaning prog metal, with some bursts of djent appearing on certain tracks to boot. It’s a mixture that brings together an appreciation for groove, an ear for melody, an awareness of when to use space at the right moments to let songs breathe, and a fair quantity of intensity and crunch. “The Flames’ Dance” is a song that puts the emphasis on groove above all, with persistent bounce throughout, but snippets of Venuvian’s more extreme side can be heard in brief bursts of growlier vocals and higher-intensity drumming.
The alt-metal tendencies of Venuvian can extend beyond Gojira-tier groove to something a bit more ‘normie’, with a fairly nu metal-worthy introduction to “Deceived”; this passage feels a bit half-cooked compared to most of Lost, but thankfully that is a rarity here. The hushed cleans and atmospheric tones of this song’s chorus, plus its proggy bridge, play far more effectively to Venuvian’s strengths. It’s not that the Swedes can’t write riffs that slam, though; a creeping piano intro to “Judgement” is subsequently taken up by the full band to give listeners tasty headbang material, even though the song overall has a sophistication to its various layers that oddly reminds me of Moanaa above anyone else.
Alt-metal is probably the dominant style across the record on balance, and it’s hard not to use later-era Gojira as the most natural point of comparison. However, as alluded to earlier, there is variety in Lost and a challenge to properly pin them down. The trancey electronics in “New Life” are just one unusual factor in this track (a factor that are explored further in “Reverse”, one of three interlude-style tracks on the album); there’s a sequence of proggy guitar leads midway through that give me a slight Between The Buried And Me vibe, but the subsequent bridge of the song has a gloominess and atmosphere to it that goes in completely the other direction.
At the other end of the intensity spectrum, “Rejoice” is sustained by hefty rolling djent grooves; I feel like this is probably one of the least naturally flowing songs on Lost, with some slightly awkward clean vocal passages, but Venuvian at least have the density in their production necessary to pull off such crunching heaviness with the djent passages, as well as on the more core-oriented “Guilt’s Eye” (breakdowns and pig grunts make an entrance here). Just as Venuvian plunge to their heaviest with “Guilt’s Eye” and those filthy growls, the title track features Lost’s cleanest vocals, with Hera’s Felicia Gullstrand adding some nice ethereal melodies in the ominous bridge of this song, and harmonies in the final ‘chorus’.
Venuvian haven’t come out of the box fully formed here; there’s a few awkward moments in Lost, and the vocals (growls and cleans) potentially could still improve in their delivery at points. However, it’s kinda wild to think that metal (and music in general, I suppose) has reached a point that albums of this quality, on songwriting, production and performance fronts, are being released by bands with as little coverage as Venuvian; who knows what else is slipping through the cracks due to the sheer abundance of releases coming out?
||Written on 11.02.2023 by|
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