Out of a high pitched, slightly anguished sounding squeal (of the guitar?), one by one the instruments all join in to align and form Dead Sun Whorship, the debut release by Venus Sleeps. Once they do come together though, man, what we got is some good ‘ol doom-laden metal; old school metal with noticeable influences that were kind of fun to pick out. Now, there’s a fine line between perpetuating and glorifying a certain style, and simply merely copying out of lack of musing inspiration. Refreshingly, this band’s modus operandi appears to be the former.
At once, on the first track Ether Sleeper, there’s a discernable homage to Sabbath, Trouble, and nicely surprising, I thought I could recognize Budgie in the vocal style. This band makes it all work, work well. Interestingly, “ethereal” is the word that comes to mind when hearing the vox; making the title of their originating song quite appropriate. Relentlessly driving the calling of that otherworldly voice, the steady doomy groove-laden riffs of the band continue to drive and eventually let up toward the end of the song to allow a very, very nice Cream(y) wah-wah pedal guiding guitar solo.
Dawn Of Nova, the second track, brings the hammer of doom right back down forming a groove until it soon leaves us in the company of an isolated, “lollygagging-like”, conductor of solely percussion. When perhaps an ease of reflection is felt, the band comes crashing back in with the primary meter afore introduced. The band executes this ability of theirs well. Exhibited, the well-studied sources the band derives their sonic characteristics from and the band’s earned proficiency provides the listener with a solid understanding of what this band is all about.
Golden Hair, the following track, gave me a surprising jolt of exhilaration; perhaps because I wasn’t expecting it and/or the fact that I hold Syd Barrett (Pink Floyd) with such high regard. Venus Sleeps performs Syd’s acidic classic with the concealed, but necessary enthusiasm required to pull it off. In doing so, they abstain from my labeling of them “wannabes”, which is in fact what a lot of attempters of Barrett or Floyd covers are to my ears.
With my respect undoubtedly achieved, Dead Sun Whorship ascends; not too fast mind you, but slow, slow and grinding. I Am The Night follows the Barrett cover bringing with it, a nice catchy melody while demonstrating the band’s ability to “hook”. This song’s got some, to be sure. Appealing to me again, the cry baby, late sixties style guitar dominates the last two-thirds of the song.
Settling the listener down, Age Of Nothing, the album’s closer, begins to construct an atmosphere very reminiscent of some of the post-Barrett Pink Floyd spaced-out contemplative instrumentals. Brought into that spacey haze is Venus Sleeps’ trademark, by this point in the album, doom and sludge to accompany. Also happening to be the longest track of them all, Age Of Nothing pulls the whole band’s many distinctive qualities together to shine. They seem to have wanted to encapsulate what they are all about within this song: the Ozzy style of vocals exemplified in Sabbath’s Hole In The Sky and Symptom Of The Universe, the crashing and pounding percussion, the psychedelic-esqe guitar. This song covers them all and as I stated, generally embodies the band.Conclusively, as with the whole work, the resonance experience here engaged and gratified.
All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed this latest release by Venus Sleeps. I can say, undeniably, that I will keep my ears peeled for future releases by this band.
Scribed by: Brian Burroughs