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?
Dedicated followers of Virtuosity One may well be familiar with the name Charly Sahona from his work in progressive metallers Venturia who have released 2 excellent albums to date. However, the French guitarist has seen fit to use songs not geared towards the Venturia sound for a debut solo album “Naked Thoughts From A Silent Chaos” which is a much more streamlined album built around heavy riffs with catchy vocals and Sahona’s trademark solos with the press promo sheet describing this is a fusion of Dream Theater, Muse and 30 Seconds To Mars. Certainly the musicianship and heaviness of DT is here with the melodies taking on the more modernistic feel of Muse. Fans of either band should be able to latch on this rather easily, yet at the same time it has its own sound going on.
Sonically the album sounds great with a production that puts many big names to shame with the rhythm section of Sahona’s Venturia band mates Diego Rapacchietti (Drums) and Thomas James-Potrel (Bass) powering the whole 8 track album along with exuberant ease and skill. Sahona’s guitar is as excellent as anyone who has heard Venturia knows yet here where it’s the main focus you really see that Charly’s style is taking metal guitar to new places.
Highlights come in practically every song from opener and debut single “Relieved”, the stomping “Away From Our Sins” which is full of catchy vocal melodies, “Forgotten Past” is closest in style to the sound heard of Venturia’s “Hybrid” album. “River Of Lies” is the most straight metal tinged track on the album. “Living In A Dream Is Not Right” is relatively laid back in comparison to other tracks and allows Sahona to show his vocal skill, something which it could be argued is mixed a little low in places, this could maybe be put down to debut vocal release nerves, however, Sahona has a good voice, melodic, clean and likely to win appeal with the modern day listener so next time push the fader up a little Charly! “It Will Fly Away” has more commercial possibilities and those that like Muse but would like that heavier may just find their perfect match here. Closer “All That Can Be Said” sees the album out on another strong note.
With “Naked Thoughts From A Silent Chaos” Charly Sahona has delivered a mightily impressive debut album. If your penchant for metal is to avoid clichés then this could be right up your street. Essentially with performances this good, a production this strong and song quality excellent from start to finish then you have to ask the question what’s not to like?
Hot Spots : Relieved, Away From Our Sins, It Will Fly Away. Rating : 95%