Venues – Aspire

Rating: 3/5
Distributor/label URL: https://www.arising-empire.com
Released: 2018
Buy Album [URL]: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Aspire-VENUES/dp/B07D4ZLG8T/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1533300306&sr=8-1&keywords=venues+aspire
Band Website: https://www.facebook.com/VENUESofficial/

Band line-up:

Nyves Krithinidou – Vocals
Robin Baumann – Vocals
Constantin Ranis – Guitar
Toni Lixx – Guitar
Florian Brett – Bass
Dennis Vanhöfen – Drums

Tracklisting:
  1. We Are One
  2. Lights
  3. The Longing
  4. Fading Away
  5. The Epilogue
  6. Dilemma
  7. My True North
  8. Star Children
  9. Nothing Less
  10. Shades Of Memory
  11. Silence
  12. Ignite
Review:

Venues are a hard-touring German metalcore band who formed in early 2015. They have shared the stage with ‘Eskimo Callboy’, ‘Callejon’, ‘Deez Nutz’ and German punk rockers, ‘Itchy’. The band have also gathered a massive following in their country’s underground scene. Their relentless writing, performing and interacting with fans has contributed massively to their impressive social media statistics. In this year, the band released the two singles ‘Ignite’ and ‘The Epilogue’ as well as their debut record ‘Aspire’. The latter was unleashed in July through Arising Empire in Europe and SharpTone Records in America.

What’s their album like? The harmonies are pleasing and even kind of pretty in a metal way, as are the melodies and the female singer’s tone of voice. The production whilst maybe a bit over done is crystal clear. All good right? Well it would be better at least, if this kind of music hadn’t been done thousands of times before. It’s very forgettable stuff, and whilst adequate in most areas, nothing really stands out as outstanding. Perhaps the greatest strength on offer is the uplifting mood, which even though heavy is simultaneously full of life and brings up feelings of nostalgia. Venues write great party music or feel good driving music which is often catchy, but it arguably has a short life span as it’s so easy to memorise and is too safe. The odd scream is heard from the male singer (perhaps fitting to listen to when coming across dodgy drivers), but whilst offering contrasts, it does so in as you guessed it… a typical way.

And how about having more variety? All of the songs are in roughly the same tempo and mood, which perhaps isn’t so much of an issue for partying teenagers, but it is for those looking for more depth. Even just the odd unexpected chord or riff borrowed from another genre could have worked wonders. The occasional guitar solo does brighten things up with various tasty legato phrases. However, the musicians have missed an opportunity to make them stand out by featuring more advanced musicianship. Like many of their contemporaries, this band seems to have a phobia of writing decent endings. Countless songs of this style just stop, and it is unclear why. It sends the listener the message that they don’t take their music as seriously as they could and almost makes their work sound more like well polished demos.

In conclusion, this music really isn’t that bad but it does need to push the boundaries significantly more than it does right now. The fact that the vocalist is female does add interest, but her melodies sometimes bring to mind In Flames in their more commercial phase, too much. (Think ‘Come Clarity’). Her style is also sometimes reminiscent of the gothic Lacuna Coil, but again don’t think Venues match their songwriting abilities. Whether this material is worth buying or not is largely dependent on how many LPs you have in this style already in your collection. Perhaps if you have more than three to five, you won’t find this stuff particularly interesting, but at least there is nothing that offends the ears in any way.

Review by Simon Wiedemann
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