Venturia - The New Kingdom
Lion Music
Progressive Metal w/ Pop
8 songs (44:46)
Release year: 2006
Venturia, Lion Music
Reviewed by Cody

Progressive rock is often an unidentifiable genre, where artists take the name of their chosen musical accoutrement to the extreme by experimenting with far out sounds that wouldn't normally be associated with rock or metal. Often times, bands, because of the complexity of their work, are impossible to categorize as either rock (Genesis), or metal (Dream Theater), landing somewhere in a far off land while taking notes from rock and metal to compose music that defies the norm of classifications. Venturia is an act that continues the progressive tradition of keeping the reviewers guessing, and the common listener confuzzled by their stubborn resistance to standard rock controls.

Despite having an obvious common association with acts such as Dream Theater, Spock's Beard, and Faith No More, Venturia's sound has a very identifiable mark to call their own, orientating 80's and 90's pop stylings with progressive metal riffs. Combining both male and female leads, their chosen sound of metal and pop is very identifiable and workable because of the support of two vocal styles that accompany each other very well. In addition to the vocals, the band is obviously very keyboard heavy, with an output combining typical progressive metal key-shredding with synthpop melodies (and a little classical thrown in just to make things that much more interesting).

Some stand out tracks that really should be noted are specificially centered on the last two tracks. Beginning with the instrumental Candle of Hope Through A Night of Fears, the well centered vocalists are removed from the picture to allow the rest of the band ample room to show off their prog wankery which is almost necessary for the modern prog band. Despite this track being a freeflowing instrumental with each band member showing off their skills, I think its a little short for a lone instrumental (they could have done so much more with it), and perhaps a little too controlled leaving more solo work to be desired. However, this IS indeed a standout track with its orientation of multiple genre classifications, which in itself shows the musicians true capabilities. Perhaps the best song on this album though, would have to go to the finale, entitled Dear Dead Bride which truly shows off the whole package. It begins with some great slowed down keyboard/guitar work interlaced very well with some emotional vocals, only to have it speed up and break into prog wankery and then into a headbangable guitar chug fest which shows off some testosterone in this otherwise overtly un-assertive album. Quite enjoyable!

Despite this being Venturia's, debut album, the band has been creating music together since 2000, having slowly built up a following in France and Europe, to the point where The New Kingdom is being heralded as a re-awakening for French metal. Does this reviewer believe that Venturia has the cabability of being a renaissance act? I guess only time will tell if the band becomes a mainstay in the genre, but for now, they have released an enjoyable debut that should turn a respectable amount of heads in the progressive community, if not the metal community as a whole. With some refinement, and maybe a continuation of more metallic interludes that the band danced with on this album, I think Venturia could have a future outside of their native land.

If you are looking for the next Pagan's Mind album with more traditional metal moments, you may be disappointed with The New Kingdom, as this is an album made for progressive music fans, not necessarily metal fans. Venturia obviously are fans of metal, and orientate quite a bit of it into this record, but overall, this has enough musical influence in it to become attractive to many a listener outside of the metal community. If you like catchy progressive wankery that simply continues to defy the rules with which we seek to govern our music sensibilities, then pop this bad larry in and try and play name that genre!

Killing Songs :
Candle of HopeThrough a Night of Fears, Dear Dead Bride
Cody quoted 75 / 100
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