Saturday, 24 May 2014

Venus Victrix - Venus Victrix I (2014) / 78%

Texan mum doom: good quality, kind of fresh

Venus Victrix are a new project from the American South, near Austin, Texas to be more precise and they were formed by the composer and multi instrumentalist Keegan Kjeldsen (already part of two other bands) with the addition of a woman named Tiffany (in a legit band called Bad Lucifer as well but they have nothing released yet). Joined by some other members, this duo is the creative core of the project. Their first release is quite legit and it fits the current occult female fronted doom metal trend of recent years.

This debut album is quite well produced considering it's their self released debut, the sound is defined and it can easily highlight the different components of their songwriting, some keyboards, a loud bass (“Change”) and some acoustic guitars like on the ethnic Om/Orphaned Land inspired ending of the last track “House of Bast”. The drums sound a bit weird, a bit cardboard-esque but that's not bothering me too much. While their ideas are not the most originals, everything is done with the utmost care. The tracklist is well balanced, eight songs for a bit more than forty minutes is perhaps one of the best deal you can have in doom.

The vocals are pretty good, perhaps one of the best the genre has to offer, really. They're quite airy and ethereal and it fits the direction they wanted to find. Like the band, the vocalist is akin to popular bands like Jex Thoth, Blood Ceremony or Jess and the Ancient Ones. Clean, powerful female vocalists with a very melodic edge who can transpose the psychedelic era of Jefferson Airplane into modern soil. Compared to a band like Jex Thoth, the band has plenty of riffs and it just doesn't rely on doomy atmospheres to create their ambiances. There's nice leads too, it's never too much and they contribute to the good direction the album has.

Their sound is nowhere near as vintage as the seventies 70s afficionados of Blood Ceremony though, it's much more subtly brought both instrumentally and lyrically (the lyrics of the intricate seven minutes “Tsukuyomi” are nicely written). All of 'em are about different mythologies instead of your usual evil occult satanist stuff, we have Japanese, Roman or Greek legends like Bacchus on “The Horned God”. I always liked these themes, these tales are damn bloody and pretty metal!

While riding on the mum doom (female fronted doom that can be seen as soft) wave, Venus Victrix delivers the goods on their debut, it's a heavy, psychedelic and fun record. It's perhaps very safe but this doesn't make it any less enjoyable. Support the band!

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