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.