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Venturia - Hybrid CD (album) cover




Progressive Metal

3.92 | 10 ratings

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usa prog music
4 stars The New Kingdom in 2006 and Hybrid in 2008; both released by Scandinavian metal specialist label Lion Music.

And this latest release is surely aptly named, as this creation is a mix of many different musical elements. Whether it is a hybrid or a mongrel will be a matter of individual taste of course; personally I think the former suits best.

Progressive metal is a foundation of sort for most things happening on this production. Riff patterns, both of the more basic variety as well as quirkier explorations are found in most tunes, and the archetypical synths and keyboards adding nuances and textures to the themes and passages making up the individual compositions are an ever present factor - in many instances these dominate a song partially or in full. Powerful vocals are a common feature in progressive metal, and in this case there are both male and female vocalists adding a distinct nerve and contrast to the songs.

The metal is mixed with other styles though, and industrial or perhaps electronic music is the first musical style I'd pull out of the hat to describe the hybrid elements on this album. Vocals and in some cases guitars are given industrial makeovers in key passages; the latter perhaps just as often a result of mix and production as a focused effort to make the songs sound industrial (i.e., that the industrial effects as such may be more of an accidental result). Still, the guitar sound is slicked down quite a bit and does make me think of industrial metal more than progressive metal quite a few times.

Gothic metal is a second element making an appearance in the songs of this creation, with powerful female vocals as a key feature, and melodramatic symphonic keyboard passages making regular appearances. The latter isn't a dominant feature though, in case any Nightwish fan suddenly feels the urge to check this out.

Other elements in this mix of styles are mellow, melodic passages with distinct commercial leanings - most notable in the classy ballad "Why This Woman's Life" - and guitar soloing somewhat dominated by neo-classical inspired guitar work.

This adds up to a very nice release; for those that can find such a mix of styles enjoyable. It's neither fish nor fowl, and how many that will find a mix of these appealing I'm uncertain of. Personally I find this to be an enjoyable album though; nothing earth-shattering but the compositions are mostly well-thought out, the performances, mix and production hold high class and the band does touch upon moments of brilliance on occasion. Worth investigating by the curious, and I'd guess that this is a release that may be pulled out as a forgotten jewel a decade from now.

usa prog music | 4/5 |


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