Venues – “Aspire”

Venues is a band that just seems perfect – but I’m not talking about the music yet. The young post-hardcore act from Stuttgart, Germany started out in 2014 and are set to release their debut record via Arising Empire (Nuclear Blast Records) on July 27, 2018. Without a doubt, there are people who believe in this band, in fact right from the start. There’s more: Venues have an attractive female frontwoman and a male screamer to share the limelight with her. Everything looks very bright and beautiful on the outside, so let’s see what’s on the inside.

“Aspire” is one of those albums you need to give a certain time to open itself up to you. I can also tell you right from the start that you won’t get places in terms of liking this record by expecting straight up metal, as Venues are way softer than one would think. “Aspire” is a compilation of very cohesive tracks that border alternative rock and melodic hardcore with electronic influences. I do find that the electronic elements are slightly all over the place on this record, which is understandable. Venues still have a lot to experiment with – after all, this is their debut!
Knowing that, it’s no surprise that the best songs on “Aspire” are the ones that are so melodic and groovy you just can’t get them out of your head. Science is right again: We humans like simple, happy music after all, and this record proves just that. The most metal thing about Venues’ music really is their screamer, who doesn’t get to scream as much as Nyves gets to sing.

I should probably warn you from the start that I despise most post-hardcore or metalcore vocalists, with only a few exceptions. Nyves, Venues’ clean singer, is not a post-hardcore vocalist in the narrower sense, but more of an indefinable middle-ranged vocalist with a surprisingly melodic voice. She sings with the right zeal for the genre and has a decent vocal range, and I really wish there was something I could complain about here, but objectively, there isn’t – at least if we were to leave out her strange pronunciation (of which she wouldn’t be the only one to blame – just think of Tarja’s very prevalent Finnish accent). I personally can’t identify a whole lot with Nyves’ vocal performance, but it would be unfair to denounce her as a lousy vocalist just because of a personal preference. She does a respectable job, especially with rhythm, and I will stop complaining about mistakes she doesn’t make.
Harsh vocalist Robin, on the contrary, is in fact an archetypal post-hardcore, slightly sad looking vocalist with a hangdog look whose vocals sound strained, thin, bland and seem to only be a means to an end than standing on their own, much in contrast to Nyves’ performance. However, Robin’s screams are quite “clear” in the sense that you can understand the lyrics quite easily and he isn’t bad with rhythm and groove, either.

“Lights” contains the most obvious pop influences on the entire record, but despite the track’s unspectacular structure, the overall song has a certain ease and groove to it that makes you wag your head. “Dilemma” and “Silence” subsist on their choruses. Additionally, “My True North” and “Shades Of Memory” have a beautiful and genuine energy to them. Last but not least, I’m particularly a fan of the track “Fading Away” with Christoph Wieczorek of annisokay (a band that Venues learned a lot watching) on guest vocals, who sounds phenomenal as always and brings the track to another level.

Venues can’t offer the most intricate compositions nor complex lyrics, but they don’t have to. Their music is very well-made for such a young band and they have a direction many bands lack even after years in the business. The bottom line is that most of Venues’ songs work. Hell, I even started singing along after the tenth spin of “Aspire”, so Venues must be doing something right.
There really isn’t much to truly criticize about this band. Are they outstanding enough to keep up with the international competition? Probably not yet. But they definitely are a band to look out for in the future, and I wish them best of luck.

Release date: July 27, 2018

Rating: average (3)

Line-up:
Nyves Krithinidou – vocals
Robin Baumann – vocals
Constantin Ranis – guitars
Toni Lixx – guitars
Florian Brett – bass
Dennis Vanhöfen – drums

Tracks:
01. We Are One
02. Lights
03. The Longing
04. Fading Away (feat. Chris Wieczorek)
05. The Epilogue
06. Dilemma
07. My True North
08. Star Children
09. Nothing Less
10. Shades Of Memory
11. Silence
12. Ignite

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