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Venerea
One Louder
Bad Taste Records
www.badtasterecords.com


Right from track one I know I am listening to something different. The drums just pummel me into submission as the chorus hooks into my memory, indelibly leaving vocal lines etched into my consciousness. While I recognize that this music may not be for the masses, it certainly comes close to being mainstream palatable without sacrificing intensity and drive. Venerea reminds me a lot of Richmond's Avail; furiously driven post-hardcore punk that delivers supremely singable songs that anyone could appreciate. What helps the vocals is a near perfect use of backing at key moments that accents the builds nicely, almost similar in intent to the more ska-based band Less Than Jake. Changes are accomplished with finesse and style, appearing from nowhere, yet elevating the songs to a completely new level - "Throwing Bricks" being one of my favorite examples of such.

The catch-22 of the situation is the drums; excellently executed, a lot of emphasis is placed on this instrument to focus the movement of each song, guitars are relatively low-key; hitting on the major beats but leaving the drums to push the material forward. While the near constant barrage of drums sets the tone of the album, it also starts to hinder the variance of the material, so that the record starts to become monotonous towards the end. This also has the beneficial effect of making those minor variations in the drum pattern all the more prevalent as in "St. Christopher" and "Implosive". Not quite to break-out proportions, but nonetheless subtle tweaks that do add to the songs they are in. Now I would recommend varying the drums more, but I fear that would sacrifice the momentum established unless the guitars starting pulling some weight in the intensity department.

Despite my criticisms above this album is wholly worth it, especially if you like that balls-to-the-wall constancy of this branch of hardcore, complete with beautifully wrought vocals.

-bishop

Track Listing:

1. Calling Card
2. Guantanamo
3. All Washed Up
4. St. Christopher
5. Throwing Bricks
6. Implosive
7. Homefires
8. Rearview
9. Libertine
10. Small Town Romance
11. Sound of Muzak
12. Staying Underground
13. Ten Years
14. This Time Around


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Mike Doughty



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