Trance of Death by Venenum

Release date: March 17, 2017
Label: Sepulchral Voice Records

The band Venenum wasn’t an also-ran in the death metal scene when its debut album came out, and neither is Venenum an also-ran with their latest album Trance of Death. I’ve heard other reviewers call the band the next Tribulation and you’ve perhaps read them too. Tribulation’s The Formulas of Death makes the same turnaround from old-school death metal Venenum does on this release, and fans and writers can’t help but tie the two bands together for this analogous reference in stylistic change. I’ll leave out the Tribulation comparisons out of my review, because everyone has heard that by now, and writers recycle the same concepts made by peers from time to time. It makes for easy acceptance by the fans of the band.

I will agree that Venenum has used progressive songwriting to allow Trance of Death to become more effective. Face it, sometimes old-school death metal done the same old way gets boring, and rather than the band turn into a modern albeit polarising act most fans still evaluate for what pundits have to say about it, the band weaves its influences in a way that works best for them. Hence does Trance of Death knock the home run out of the park in all conceivable ways. They don’t just do a Tribulation like one esteemed metal writer writes in a review. They approach the album in a way that is original to the band’s stylistic leanings. No, it’s not just another The Formulas of Death no matter what other more esteemed writers think or say.

For one thing, they use more ambient sections, and do so far and away more varied stylistically than Tribulation does. They also use weird samples, and play with fewer transitions that lack polish. Venenum’s Trance of Death doesn’t kill the fun with the runtime some bands play some albums worthy of comparison. They play just long enough to hold the listener’s interest without overdoing the riffs to tediousness.

So are occasional tremolo riffs scattered about on Trance of Death. In spite of this foray up the lighter strings and up the fretboard in execution, Trance of Death doesn’t overplay the metal sections to supreme annoyance. And while some writers compare an album to what closest reference they can find for an album like Trance of Death because the band makes a stylistic leap with some degree of comparability, Venenum is not Tribulation is not the Venenum of old. They take a different approach to songwriting even if the chugging and downpicking progressive riffs sound a little familiar. I believe the band is tired of such hackneyed comparisons made by mainstream hype-covering music journalists.

And especially in the case of Trance of Death’s catchiness and evolutionary quality to songwriting dynamics, Venenum deserves praise for their own authentic ideas and truly veritable departure from their old sound, or that of anyone else’s. They rule on Trance of Death, and Trance of Death rules just like it should, without the desecration that journalism hopes to inspire fans with click-bait headlines to to sell articles. Venenum is special, not because someone says they sound familiar to an old overrated favorite, but because they do things veritably their way, and listening to this masterpiece tells the truth of the matter, and so should you listen and formulate an opinion independent of someone else’s.

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