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Venomous Echoes - Split Formations And Infinite Mania review




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Band: Venomous Echoes
Album: Split Formations And Infinite Mania
Style: Black metal
Release date: April 2024


01. Ocvlar Maltosis Ov Schizophrenia
02. Miscreated Pustules
03. For Thy Avant-Void
04. Mucous Slathered Face Morphed Into Tsathoggua
05. The Millions Of Eyes Transformed
06. Abhoth Multiplied To Thy Millennium
07. Split Formations And Infinite Mania

With Ben Vanweelden’s Venomous Echoes, I’m somewhat reminded of what we said about Primitive Man when they dropped Scorn back in 2013. That, given the nature of the music, the band name could simply not be more fitting.

Writhing Tomb Among The Stars, the debut LP from this peculiar black metal one manner, was definitely one of 2023’s biggest Ninja Albums, and if you missed it, shame on you. All of a sudden there appeared, seemingly from the Voidless Aether itself, a new presence within the BM scene. Aurally captivating, hallucinatory, interspersed with a ton of mouth – watering effects, and also being a bit of a concept album revolving around a sort of Cosmic Horror take on Body Dysmorphia, it was almost universally hailed as a tremendously successful way for the project to strike out. Where might Venomous Echoes be going from there?

Capitalization, my friends. The key word with 2024’s Split Formations And Infinite Mania is capitalization. To his own admission, Ben was not expecting Writhing Tomb to be as well – received as it was. But now that it has been, the second Venomous Echoes LP is building upon that (and a well – earned signing to I, Voidhanger, no less!) in virtually every aspect. But be forewarned: this is not necessarily the same Venomous Echoes you heard on the debut. Most noticeably, while Writhing Tomb could pretty fairly be dubbed “psychedelic black metal,” Split Formations is far more death metal oriented. This is not a bad thing in the slightest though, as it serves to often give the music a much more punishing, riff – heavy dimension that in some ways is even more ensnaring. Certain tracks, especially opener “Ocular Maltosis Ov Schizophrenia,” are surprisingly groovy as well, almost giving off a bit of a war metal vibe a la early Teitanblood or even some of the slower moments from Revenge.

And yet… this is really just the cake itself. But a cake is nothing without its icing and other toppings for the final kick. And in this respect, in no way whatsoever has Ben forgotten the more shapeless, ethereal aspects of his project either, which in some ways are even better here than they were on Writhing Tomb. Continuing his “Cosmic Horror Body Dysmorphia” story from where it left off on the debut, the slower, more ambient and introspective moments of Split Formations often serve to really drive home the narrative of the protagonist being tortured by malevolent alien beings. Whether it’s with the eerie “this will make you feel better!” sample on “Miscreated Pustules,” the toasty, Lurker Of Chalice – ish bass on “The Millions Ov Eyes Transformed,” or the masterful electronic effects on “For Thy Avant Void,” it all serves to push the music to that proverbial Next Level, the Anti Universe where Venomous Echoes dares to take the square root of - 1, and encounters Tsathoggua in the process.

Split Formations And Infinite Mania is, in every sense, a stern lesson on how to nail your sophomore record. If your debut was already well received, keep the momentum going, but shift gears ever so slightly at the same time. And that’s exactly what Ben is doing here. There are still touches of Blut Aus Nord, Skáphe, etc. on this album, but now they’ve been interspersed with that harsher, blackened death metal feel that serves to give them even more gravity. With this record, Mr. Vanweelden is both rewarding his devoted fans, and also taking all naysayers (if there even were any!) to class, showing everybody that he’s anything but a one trick pony, and that his gas for this Behemoth isn’t running out anytime soon.

Go get those Echoes. Make sure you have some antitoxins on hand though, just in case!


Written by Auntie Sahar | 16.05.2024




Comments

Comments: 4   Visited by: 35 users
17.05.2024 - 23:17
Rating: 8
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Staff
Glad to see this project picked up by a very fitting label. Curious to see if they'll pursue this more death metal oriented sound more or shift back towards something more psych black.
----
Do you think if the heart keeps on shrinking
One day there will be no heart at all?
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18.05.2024 - 10:07
nikarg
Staff
I, Voidhanger is definitely the label for out-of-the-box metal, it's not wonder they signed Venomous Echoes.
Your intro is so damn right (and the rest of the review, of course).
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18.05.2024 - 11:18
Rating: 8
Auntie Sahar
Drone Empress
Written by RaduP on 17.05.2024 at 23:17

Glad to see this project picked up by a very fitting label. Curious to see if they'll pursue this more death metal oriented sound more or shift back towards something more psych black.

All Ben has told me is that the third LP will be "the darkest one yet," but it's coming along a bit slower than he really anticipated. I can say no more than that at present
----
I am the Magician and the Exorcist. I am the axle of the wheel, and the cube in the circle. “Come unto me” is a foolish word: for it is I that go.

~ II. VII
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18.05.2024 - 11:20
Rating: 8
Auntie Sahar
Drone Empress
Written by nikarg on 18.05.2024 at 10:07

I, Voidhanger is definitely the label for out-of-the-box metal, it's not wonder they signed Venomous Echoes.

Ben was super worried about it when he dropped his pitch on Luciano at first, but I assured him "nah man, that label is definitely your kinda thing", and indeed, he got it in the bag!

I'm most interested in what that might mean as far as future collaborations with other artists on the label, especially Guillaume Cazalet (Neptunian Maximalism, Oros Kau, Sol Kia, ZAAAR, etc). Jam that Oros Kau album from last year and then some Venomous Echoes and you'll see what I mean. They'd go perfectly together
----
I am the Magician and the Exorcist. I am the axle of the wheel, and the cube in the circle. “Come unto me” is a foolish word: for it is I that go.

~ II. VII
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