Venrez – American Illusion

Venrez- American Illusion-550

Monarch Music Group

Review by Suzi H

Venrez are currently lined up as support for Buckcherry‘s latest tour, so as a long time Buckcherry fan I was pretty excited to get to review their second full release American Illusion. If you like you rock hard and heavy and your favourite music era is the seventies then you’re in for a treat. Despair not if you prefer more modern music – fans of 90’s grunge will also be happy and the band have been compared to Alice in Chains more than once.

The album kicks of with Unforseen, a glorious track that instantly harks back to the good old days when bands made the music they wanted and trashed their hotel suites. It’s a gloomy, slightly dirgeful song and it’s brilliant. There isn’t a single thing about this track that doesn’t work- it does remind me of Alice in Chains so grunge fans will be happy.

Sanctity is more up tempo and is a very old school rock track – I actually found myself thinking of early Guns N’Roses when listening to it.  Frontman Ven has the perfect voice for this sort of track and the harmonies are a thing of beauty. I like the lyrics as well- this is no sop to record labels, ‘stop putting our hopes and dreams on sale/ to the highest bidder‘. You can’t argue really can you? Hot Air is another classic sounding track and I can’t help feel that the Buckcherry fans are in for a real treat seeing these guys live. It’s got a dirty, dirty bass line and a solid beat to it that is begging for some dark club play.

Free Will  is a dreamy track – it’s got a gorgeous melody and a really rich sound to it. It’s one of those songs where I think the band really make their mark. It’s followed by Silver and Gold, a slightly darker song with a more grunge feel to it that many of the earlier songs which fall into a very ‘hard rock category’.

Intellectual Drool has, I think the most interesting intro of any of the tracks – it’s all dark and mysterious guitars joined later by some thumping drums and it’s a good 40 seconds before you hear Ven adding vocals in. This track for some reason really reminds me of Black Sabbath– I couldn’t tell you why, but it does. I suspect it’s that Ven sounds slightly like Ozzy.  Vultures changes the tempo of the album again, and is very Alice in Chains – its got a grungy beat to it, but some slamming guitars and the vocals are almost … chirpy. It’s a track that’s going to do well on rock nights in the clubs though – there’s enough air guitar potential in it alongside a dance-able beat for it to appeal well.

Hunger  and The Beat Goes On round out the album nicely before Temptress of The Moon finishes it off.  Hunger has got some great riffs in it and is another track with a fairly long intro. The Beat Goes On is interesting for it’s beat line- check it out, it’s got a lot more funk in it than anything else on the album and I think is actually my favorite track. It’s a much more interesting offering in that it’s so unexpected- the funk is overlaid with Ven’s slightly depressed vocals and once again I’m forced to compare him to Ozzy Osbourne.

 Temptress of The Moon is another surprise with a surreal introduction and the first hint of a progressive element. At 10 minutes long as well, it’s a really slow, soft and slightly psychadelic track. I’m slightly disappointed it wasn’t earlier in the album because like The Beat Goes On it showcases an unexpected side to the band and is very reminiscent of 90’s era Marillion.  I think it’s a hint that shows that whilst Venrez are *very* good at doing seventies style hard rock there’s a lot more that can and should be expected from them and I’ll be interested in seeing how they develop their sound. 

Overall, this is a good album. Some of the earlier tracks can be a bit samey which is why it’s getting a respectable 3 stars and not higher, but if The Beat Goes On  and Temptress Of The Moon are anything to go by future releases are definitely worth looking out for. Now, where can I get some tickets for their UK shows…

Rating: ***/5

One thought on “Venrez – American Illusion”

Leave a Reply