Norway’s husband and wife duo VENA have immediately risen to the fore with their Nomadic EP, a fantastically original work released in December through one of the finest labels our little isle has to offer, Paradigms Recordings.
With Magnus Lindberg of Cult Of Luna at the producer’s helm, it’s unsurprising that some of the post-sludge luminary’s sound has seeped into VENA here and there, but the band wields a heaviness solely of their own. Over four songs, VENA catapult themselves through over 25 minutes of truly brilliant songwriting, infectious melodies and haunting atmosphere.
At its core, layers of beautiful post-punk guitars, underpinned by mammoth doom-esque power chords, dominate the soundscapes. The meaty, heavy-handed approach to the music is more than enough to tantalise the most seasoned of metalheads, but it should be noted that, relatively speaking, VENA is not metal in the slightest.
In fact, it is the gorgeous, hushed female vocals that hold sway here, with the weighty instrumentation utilised as it should be in A grade pop/rock. Kjersti Pyke’s voice is in a class of its own. Fragile yet commandeering, quiet yet forceful, they pleasantly remind of Slowdive and My Bloody Valentine while Benjamin’s music veers away from the trappings of strictly shoegaze stylings into remarkably fresh territory.
Opener ‘Shadowlands’ is a slow burning brooder of epic proportions. As the riffs file into place and begin to swell with sound, it is all too easy to make comparisons to producer Lindberg’s metal horde. Post-rock ambience augments the subtly menacing guitar lines but Kjersti’s singing adds something wholly foreign and compelling to the mix. Defiant power chords rise up only to give way to a rapturous melody of a chorus. It’s insanely catchy, and this is a theme that you will become familiar with as the EP progresses.
After a belter of an opening track, ‘Divisions’ begins with a chugging guitar topped with the winding, laconic melodies of Kjersti’s stellar voice, into an uplifting chorus that seems to advocate getting the fuck out of whatever country you call home, as soon as possible. The delicious doom riffs that follow sound absolutely brilliant with Kjersti’s singing gliding over the top. Metal meets pure pop genius without ever sounding forced. For VENA, this comes naturally and it’s utterly inspired.
In an EP chock full of incredible music, it’s nigh on impossible to pick a highlight but, if forced, ‘Winter’ would probably take that title. The hushed shoegaze and Kjersti’s bittersweet vocal performance does little to prepare the listener for the incendiary chorus, packed with more aggressive power chords reminiscent of Nirvana’s pop sensibilities. It’s got one hell of a bite, and all the more great for the melodic initiative of the band. The tunes will bore into your consciousness and camp out there for a good few weeks, LURKER guarantee.
Closer ‘Clothe Us In Light’ has a charging, determined spirit about it, driving forward with abandon, heavy drumming and layered call-and-response female vocals. VENA certainly have a knack for the uplifting chorus and this track is no different from its brethren, firmly planting a satisfied grin on the face of all but the most cynical asshole music fan. Really, it must be heard to be believed. Check Nomadic out at Paradigms Recordings now! ‘Shadowlands’ can be streamed on the website’s audio player.