|Musical Style: Power Metal/Thrash||Produced By: Venia & Thomas Mattsson|
|Record Label: Bombworks||Country Of Origin: Finland|
|Year Released: 2005||Artist Website: Venia|
|Tracks: 5||Rating: 75%|
|Running Time: 25:02|
Finland's Venia can trace its beginnings back to the fall of 2002 when guitarist Jere Veijalainen met fellow guitarist Viktor Fagerstrom through an add placed on a message board seeking musicians to form a melodic metal band. After recruiting drummer Daniel Puolimatka and vocalist Veronica Fagerlund in early 2004, the new band chose the moniker Venia (which is the Latin translation for forgiveness). Bassist Juhani Palttala rounded out Venia's line up in the spring of 2004, and during the bands first live performance in September of the same year, it released its first and only demo Genesis. Signing to Bombworks Records shortly thereafter, Venia debuted in the summer of 2005 with the thrash influenced power metal of its five song EP In Our Weakness.
Veronica brings a clean and refined vocal style to the band and, despite a few rough and shaky moments, puts in an all around fine performance. The albums extreme vocals, at the same time, are shared by both Veronica and Jere. (Veronica handles “Illusion” and the majority of “The Path” while the two trade off on “Heikko”.) The rhythm section of Juhani and Daniel performs capably and stands in solid support of a very effective guitar team of Viktor and Jere.
Production values - a definite step up when compared to Genesis - are quite solid, betraying no overriding elements of thinness of muddiness.
"Kaipuu" opens the album in a very nice manner as a combination of keyboards and flowing water backs Veronica's smooth sounding voice.
"Illusion" picks up where "Kaipuu" leaves off as a quietly played guitar line carries the song through its first thirty seconds. After a crunchy rhythm guitar gradually moves to a place of prominence in the mix, "Kaipuu" takes off in an upbeat manner and immediately attains a sweeping chorus that directly points to the person of Christ:
Life is like dancing on roses
On roses with thorns
Like the thorns on the head
Of the suffering Christ
Through His wounds we are healed
Through His blood we are free
We are free to keep going
Through this life of great pain and misery
The verse portions that follow perfectly complement the chorus as the band dives into a hard hitting and double bass driven riff. Once Veronica contributes several seconds of aggressive growling, the song fades out to the same quietly played guitar line opening it.
The thrash flavored "The Path" begins at a slower more mid-tempo pace as an anthem-like riff underscores narration from Matthew 28: 18-20. Abruptly transitioning to its verse, "The Path" gains momentum and advances in a thrash flavored direction as Veronica cuts loose with more extreme shouting (backed by Jere):
The time has come for you to choose!
Evil seduction, heart's corruption or eternal bliss!
The path that is laid before you!
Is yours alone to either choose or abuse!
Upon reaching its chorus, however, "The Path" slows as Veronica steps forward with the clean side to her voice and helps create an almost ethereal atmosphere:
He who was given all the power
Brings forth redemption in your life
Break down your walls and prison tower
Surrender to the Son of life
A tight sounding rhythm guitar driven instrumental passage closes out the songs final forty-five seconds.
"Heikko" is the only song on the album with lead vocals in Finnish. (The albums liner notes provide an English translation.) Getting started at an upbeat tempo, "Heikko" tapers off upon reaching its first verse as Jere highlights the background with a touch of extreme growling. The melodic flavored chorus that follows almost comes across worshipful in feel:
I can be weak, because He is strong in the weak
I don't have to be perfect, because He is
I can be tired, but He never becomes exhausted
From carrying me in His arms
Following an instrumental passage carried by a blend of hard hitting rhythm guitar and slower paced riffing, Jere and Veronica combine to provide for more aggressive screaming:
Venia launches back into instrumental mode prior to closing by repeating the songs chorus one last time.
"No More" closes the album in the form of a semi-ballad. After a quietly played guitar line slowly propels the song through its first verse, the rhythm guitar enters the mix in time to drive a chorus which is repeated twice by the band in sublime fashion. A two and a half minute instrumental passage opens slowly only to pick up in pace as a strong double bass driven riff stands in support of Viktor's fiery lead guitar work.
As a result of coming in at only 5 songs and 25:02, the overall feeling I get from In Our Weakness is one of wanting more. And that is a good thing! Because Venia proves a more than above average talent; based upon the potential displayed here, I look forward to hearing a full length follow up effort from these guys (and gal!) in the future.
Review by: Andrew Rockwell
Track Listing: “Kaipuu” (1:29), “Illusion” (5:50), “The Path” (5:05), “Heikko” (5:51), “No More” (6:46)
Veronica Fagerlund – Lead Vocals (Clean & Extreme) & Violin
Viktor Fagerstrom - Guitars
Jere Veijalainen – Guitars & Extreme Vocals
Juhani Palttala – Bass
Daniel Puolimatka - Drums