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VENUES - 'Aspire' Album Review


1. We Are One

2. Lights

3. The Longing

4. Fading Away (feat. Chris Wieczorek)

5. The Epilogue

6. Dilemma

7. My True North

8. Star Children

9. Nothing Less

10. Shades Of Memory

11. Silence

12. Ignite

So there’s this band about called VENUES, I’d never heard of them until receiving this album to review and on first impression all I can say is wow! The album charged it’s way into my life with the opening track “We Are One” and I feel like the title is very aptly chosen because it immediately left me feeling like I was part of something despite not knowing what that something was. This song instantly feels like a rallying cry with strong vocals and an empowering rhythm and synth. So the opening track was a success, what else have they got for us you might be asking? Well the next track “Lights” answers that with pride, coming in a bit softer this time yet all the while somehow never quite losing the momentum delivered thus far, showing a bit more of a contrast in the different vocal styles that were initially introduced. “The Longing” keeps a similar feel with another solo guitar intro before booming in with the full band, holding onto that epic feel with more impressive vocals and awesome rhythm. “Fading Away” comes in next featuring a Chris Wieczorek and again the same epic rhythm style and vocal rings through. I’ll admit I’m not aware of who Chris Wieczorek is but I will say the addition of his vocals in this track do add another layer to VENUES established style and fit really well. “The Epilogue” opens up with a bit of a different feel this time, with an opening line and just a few accompanying notes leading to another epic build up, before allowing the unclean vocals to take the reins for a bit. This track has a small interlude and I must admit it had a kind of coming up for air feeling of relief which gives credit to their ability to evoke a variety of emotions throughout the tracks. I can imagine it is also well received when playing live! The next track “Dilemma” leads you in with a false sense of security with an almost subdued intro tone before the whole band dashes that impression, right away we’re back to the epic feel established early in the album. The tempo comes back down a bit when the vocals kick in before booming into that powerful chorus. Following that same intro style “My True North” comes in gently before again letting loose with a fast paced powerful build up and some even more awesome gang vocals, of which I am a big fan! This is a song that really allowed the unclean vocals to shine through matching perfectly with the pace and tone of the song, allowing the main vocals to really pop in the chorus. “Star Children” comes in next with a guitar riff that was oddly reminiscent of 'Message In A Bottle' by The Police, which then made me have to go back and listen to that song just to get it out of my system. This track had some awesome rhythm and another booming chorus, but the icing on the cake is the face melting guitar solo about 2 minutes in, which comes in again to lead the song to it’s conclusion. “Nothing Less” decides to shake up the formula a bit this time with a gang style vocal intro before the whole band jump in, and more importantly the synth is back in full force, something that has been present in previous songs but never to the full prevalence than in the opening track. By this point you can feel the album is nearing its end as the tone and style in the song “Shades Of Memory” feel a lot steadier and has a feeling of longing, which again as I said before, speaks volumes for this bands ability to convey different emotions in their music. Then almost as if to solidify my point “Silence” comes in with another soft vocal intro and an overall more subdued feel to the song. If this album was a war, the intro track was the banging of war drums and clashing of weapons whereas this track is definitely the counting of losses and bitter sweet rejoice of victory before “Ignite” picks up the pace again with a faster tempo and powerful rhythm, almost as if to say yeah it is the end of the album but don’t worry, we can always hit repeat! This album caused mixed emotions within me, some by design (as I’ve stated a few times in my review) and some not quite so.

The opening Track “We Are One” really rallied me up and prepared me for something epic and a lot of the tracks kept that momentum going, however there was the odd point in the album where I found myself losing interest.

This feeling would however be dashed again quickly when a new track came in which mixed up the status quo a bit “My True North” is a track that springs to mind. The synth played a big part in the opening track for me and really set these guys apart from a lot of other potentially similar sounding bands however it never seemed like it was fully utilised again until “My True North” and I felt that was a bit of a shame as it really beefed up the tracks.

Overall one of the more notable aspects of VENUES is the epic feel of a lot of their songs, which I think is only made more prevalent by the power in the main vocals. I’m loving more and more these days the power than can be conveyed in a female vocal line and I’ve had the good fortune to review at least a couple bands that are fronted by members of the fairer sex. All I can say is I want more! I’m so glad to see ladies realising just how much power they hold! and just like that I think I’ve just discovered the cause for this rallying cry I’ve been looking for since I put this album on!

Review - Ric Snell

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