“A force to be reckoned with… Venrez totally killed it with their powerful set!”
Venrez graced the stage of The Purple Turtle mid-afternoon and those that weren’t there missed out on something special. Having performed a run of 9 shows with Richie Ramone across the UK, the band were showing no signs of this, with singer Venrez putting on a performance that was both mesmerising and energy fuelled in equal parts. With their hard rock sound and harmonies that sounded sublime throughout, ‘Karma’ kicked off the set in epic rock style as the guitar crunched along to a darker vocal.
Few bands make music like this anymore and Venrez offer a perfect snapshot of what the mainstream shouldsound like.
Hailing from LA, Venrez deal in the same sort of psychedelic-tinged hard rock that made Stone Temple Pilots’ ‘core’ such a potent brew. With hard –hitting riffs, gruff yet tuneful vocals and a bucketload of attitude, Venrez capitalize upon the success of their 2013 debut, ‘American Illusion’ with ‘children of the drones’, a ten track ride through the sun-bleached heartlands of America that hints at a love of Alice in Chains, STP, stabbing westward and Filter as the band effortlessly meld irresistible pop melodies to insatiable hard rock riffs.
The band open with ‘hang the predator’, a track which cleverly builds to its pummelling riff and which perfectly sets the tone for the album. With unforgettable riffs sending the blood pumping around the body, vaguely progressive lead breaks scratch the surface whilst the vocals snarl from within the heart of the maelstrom. The title track utilises a similar template, the hefty riffs underpinned by fine drumming and the whole given plenty of melodic bite thanks to the tidy vocals. An early highlight of the album, ‘devil’s due’ is a breezy, heavy track with a chunky riff and distorted vocal, all of which seems set to wedge itself into your brain without so much as a by your leave. It doesn’t seem so long ago that bands in this vein used to rule the airwaves and it takes a minute to sink in that almost no one makes music like this in the current climate, which is a great shame because Venrez, on the strength of this material, have great potential to reach a massive audience. With a thumping dance beat and reverb-laden lead, ‘salvation’ is a pumping slab of dancefloor-friendly rock, the likes of which hasn’t been heard since Muse’s ‘black holes and revelations’. Instantly danceable, it’s a track with plenty of depth beside, and you can’t help but feel that it’s the ideal opening blow that the band can strike in order to get the night going in the live environment. Finally displaying a tenderer side, ‘Mist of mercy’ sees the band slow the pace for a swirling track that mixes up ‘jar of flies’-era Alice in Chains with the Doors and Ozzy Osbourne. It’s an atmospheric track that borders on the hypnotic and it provides a suitable close to the first half of the record, winding its way around the listener, wrapping them in a gossamer fine melody that is beautiful and yet so fragile you fear it could fall apart at any moment.
The soundtrack theme song to the feature motion picture ‘Sacred Blood’, directed by Christopher Coppola, produced by Ross Angel & starring Anna Biani, Bailey Coppola, Michael Madsen, Bai Ling and Jeffrey Gliwa, from the Venrez album ‘Children Of The Drones’.
L.A. based rockers, Venrez are back with their third release, ‘Children Of The Drones’. Ven – vocals Jason Womack – guitars Nico D’Arnese – bass Ed Davis – drums. This time around the band serves up a sonic rock sound that seems them really going for the throat.
The album opens up with the atmospheric and moody mid tempo Hang The Predator before bursting into life with the albums rocking title track. Devils Due manages to somehow combine elements of the two previous tracks, with the vocal effects and up tempo riffs. Salvation is yet another fine rocking track that maintains the albums pace whilst twisting and turning through many tempo changes during its course.
Mist of Mercy slows things down a little with its acoustic driven intro and almost psychedelic feel. A great song that for some reason reminds me of US doom rockers Troubles more mellow moments.
So far, 2015 is panning out to be a fantastic year for AOR and the classic american rock sound we’re all very familiar with, but throw in a successful movie producer with dreams of creating a worthy rock band into the mix and you hear the unmistakable sound of Venrez. With two well-recieved albums already released (Sell The Lie and American Illusion), and the experience of touring with the established artist; Slash, and Alice Cooper, Venrez is certainly on route to be something of a stand-out artist on the scene with new album ‘Children Of The Drones’.
‘Children Of Drones’ is a very interesting album (to say the least). Heavy riffs and use of compression, phasers, and epic futuristic emulating effects takes Venrez in a completely different direction than most emerging artists seem to be heading towards. I’m not too sure which genre this music lends itself to, but i’m convinced that being unable to categorise this album can’t be a bad thing in a genre that can be pretty saturated with emerging artists who are striving to achieve a unique sound.
What do you get when you cross Nirvana, The Doors, Alice In Chains, and a former movie producer, Steven Berez? The correct answer is Venrez. Formed in 2011, the band has pushed out their third studio album, Children of the Drones, and set a new precedence for themselves in an album that balls up many facets of the rock spectrum to bring a new genre to the forefront as displayed on the groups Facebook page, Epic Alternative Rock.
The band, coming off touring with the likes of Alice Cooper, Buckcherry, Slash, and Hardcore Superstar, can add another notch to their belts. The first single released off the album, “Hang the Predator,” pulls you in with a small chant of “we must remember” coupled perfectly with a small electronic crescendo. With a grunge-styled guitar riff in the background, one that’s so solid that it can only help to compound the lyrical elegance over and over again of what the album is all about, “we must unite to hang the predator.” This is an album that is centered around a single predator, that of the government.
The band’s smooth, pacifying, unpretentious guitar riffs found throughout the album, mainly come to the forefront in songs like “Mist of Mercy” and “Reflection,” where they also mix flawlessly with lead singer Venrez’ voice. This unique album will leave the listener entrenched in a trance begging for more of the groups laid back, psychedelic style.
At 56, Steven Berez should have known better. At 60 he definitely should have. But come on, you’ve got a successful career as a Hollywood movie producer, you are entitled to a little bit of a mid-life crisis, right?
Actually if Venrez was the result of Ven (as his mates apparently call him) having a rock n roll itch to scratch, then by now it’s surely a full-blown rash, because some four years after forming, his band are onto album number three. And while they are at it, they’ve toured with Alice Cooper and Slash.
That’ll do you as a potted history, because here’s that third album to dissect, and it matters not what he did or didn’t do in the other career, only what the band sounds like.
The answer to that question is rather easy. In large part, and for much of this record, you keep thinking of one band in particular – Alice In Chains.
Some of you might remember that I reviewed Venrez’s second album American Illusion in the early days of this blog and I was impressed by the band then, well luckily very little has changed on their third album the band are still purveyors of psychedelic, reverb driven hard rock that is part Alice In Chains part Wylde-era Ozzy. Once again the album lyricism focuses on the government, the failures of modern life and how much everything sucks really, still they do it backed by some muscular guitar work played deftly with low and slow guitar work from Jason Womack on Mist Of Mercy and Refelction.