By Greg Maki
German act Venues underwent significant lineup changes—new singer, new guitarist—in the aftermath of its 2018 debut, “Aspire,” and on album number two, “Solace,” they’ve resulted in a tighter, heavier—and better—version of the band.
Impressively, the band has upped the intensity without sacrificing any melodic sensibility—thank new singer Lela Gruber and her hypnotic, soulful tones for that. Resident screamer Robin Baumann has raised his game, as well, employing new techniques to find a stronger, fuller growl that’s a stark contrast to Gruber’s often bluesy singing. Guitarists Constantin Ranis and Valentin Hahnemann pack each song with crunchy riffs and some tasty leads, spearheading the potent musical attack. Atmospheric synths lend a cinematic feel to much of the record, something the band has emphasized in a series of connected music videos.
The 10 songs of “Solace” crackle with infectious energy and an almost palpable enthusiasm from the band members. This album sounds like it was great fun to write and record without ever seeming lightweight, breezy or any other adjective we would associate with something that’s enjoyable though lacking substance. It’s the rare record that could appeal equally to both serious metalheads and loyal listeners of the local rock radio station.
If you insist on a label, metalcore probably comes closest but still seems inadequate. To me, this is just what metal sounds like in 2021; let’s call it “modern metal” and move on. “Solace” shows us a band that is the total package, one that is well on its way to becoming a powerful new force in the world of heavy music.
Arising Empire – Aug. 27, 2021