Released 21 September 2012 on Lion Music

Album number 3 from Venturia, the melodic prog metal outfit from France who have streamlined their line-up and their sound for “Dawn Of A New Era”. Gone are a number of the progressive elements heard on their debut “The New Kingdom” to be replaced by a more compact commercial punch. Is this a bad thing? Depends on your outlook but the bands key ingredients are all present and correct – big melodies, punchy riffs, tight arrangements and a glistening production.

If you like your metal on the commercial side (think a less miserable Within Temptation fused with the guitars of Nightwish) then this will be an album you should check out.  The dual male/female vocals of Charly Sahona and Lydie Lazulli work well and manage to avoid most rock clichés, Sahona also shines as ever on guitar whilst bassist Thomas James Potrel and new drummer Frederic Marchal form a formidable rhythmic unit.

At only 8 tracks long and with a running length of 40 minutes the album cannot be accused of outstaying its welcome and delivers 8 punchy tracks with a high level of quality in all.

Highlights come pretty much throughout, but in particular  the opener “Devil In Disguise”, the commerciality of “New Dawn Rising” and “What If I” (check out the video for this one) and the formidable “What We’re Here For” where all the bands elements combine nicely in this driving fast paced track. The modern power balladry of “A Spiritual Path” works nicely before the most progressive styled number on offer “Land Of Dreams” sees the album out nicely.

So in summary “Dawn Of A New Era” sees Venturia make the most concise album of their career, but also one that sounds more at ease with itself with a trademark sound definitely now being heard.  This is intelligent commercially minded metal that is easy to get into and very fresh sounding. What’s not to like eh?

Rating – 93%