Thursday, December 10, 2009


After hearing so much praise for this release by Venia entitled “Victory by Surrender” I was excited to give it a spin. I kept hearing about engaging songwriting, wonderful vocals and superior musicianship. Coming from Finland I’m always anxious to hear new metal with a European flavor.

There can be no doubt that Venia have tremendous musicians. Each member shows that they’re well versed in using the talent they’ve been given. Veronica Solje has a wonderful voice; Viktor Fagerstrom is the driving force with strong guitar playing throughout. Jere Veijalainen adds a nice dimension with his rhythm guitar and Juhani Palttala is the backbone on bass. Apparently the drums were provided by guest player Dani Puolmatka.

Yet I find something lacking here. It took me 4-5 listens before I realized what it was, I didn’t find enough strong melody lines to keep me connected. That’s not to say there isn’t melody, there is but not enough to keep me going. When I finished listening I had to think about what I just heard, what was the chorus or melody that would pull me back again?

There are some great melodies in the two instrumentals “Towards a New Dawn” and “Eternal Sanctuary.” Both remind me of early Iron Maiden, with the guitar melody lines and galloping rhythms. These songs are standouts in my opinion and definitely worth more listens.

Of the songs vocally I found the title track “Victory over Surrender,” “The Blood of The Lamb,” and “Genesis” to be top players for me. The dynamics of these songs intrigued me and I definitely gave them deeper inspection. I was rewarded for those extra listens and found great enjoyment there. These compositions are guitar driven heavy metal with violin and keyboards which is right up my alley. There is a strong sense of ‘traditional’ heavy metal here which at times lends itself to a more symphonic sound.

I just believe that Venia is capable of so much more musically. Stronger vocal melodies with greater dynamics would be of great benefit. Those melodies should demand you listen again. In conjunction with that I do wish they were able to obtain a warmer vocal sound for Veronica. It would allow her to shine even brighter with more feeling and depth.

All in all, this disc in my opinion is good, but I know Venia are capable of more. They show it and hint at it. The promise is here hopefully the next album will show positive steps in the right direction. It’s because of the promise of bigger and better things I’m rating this album with.

6 axes

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