Sculpting a collection of startling and emotionally stark yet seductive soundscapes which combine for one immersive and compelling dystopian landscape, UK band Ventenner has unleashed one of the year’s most compelling incitements with new album Distorture. A release and experience which leaves the senses beleaguered and imagination ablaze from start to finish, it is a mouth-watering intrusion of aural drama taking the listener on a gripping and invasive journey into not only the heart of the album’s own narrative but their own shadows. It is an extraordinary proposition which persistently crafts and frees intimidating seductions and contagiously raw rages with every imposing twist and evocative turn, and simply gets better and more emotionally vocal over time,
The successor to the well-received This Is The Reason album of 2012, Distorture arrives after a movement in not only sound but the shape of the 2007 formed London band; Ventenner once the solo project of Charlie Dawe (vocals/synth) growing into a quartet with Jonno Lloyd (guitar), Ben Martin (bass), and Luke Jacobs (drums) now alongside him. The move has resulted in the new album exploring a more guitar driven investigation against the previous predominantly synth and electronics fuelled approach of the project. Released via Sonic Fire Records, Distorture presents a cacophony of industrial and post punk seeded noise aligned to chilled textures and melodic invention against barren yet mesmeric atmospheres. That though is still only a glimpse of the creative shadows and colouring presented by the sonic paintings confronting ears and thoughts.
The adventure opens with Rise, a raw and portentous ambience bringing the track into view before the instrumental casts a rhythmic enticement which is as challenging as the atmosphere brewing up around it. The electronic starkness is gently corrosive bait but tempered by the intrigue clad riffs which soon line-up to ignite the imagination. It is a dramatic introduction to the dark creative emprise ahead but just a teaser as swiftly shown by the outstanding Six Blood. A predatory stroll breaks out from the song’s first seconds, its gait cloaked in mellow and slightly monotonic vocals as well as grouchy riffs which cast a grizzled hue over the gripping scenery of the track. Nine Inch Nails meets early Pitchshifter, the song is a fascinating entanglement of textures and tones, a kaleidoscope of erosive sonic hues, compelling monotony, and emotional turmoil twisted into an addictively captivating tempest.
The following Wave is just as enslaving for ears and passions. Again a chilled terrain is walked by seemingly disinterested yet persistent riffs and vocals before exploding into incendiary roars which sear the senses and inflame the imagination. It is a demanding suasion of Gravity Kills like temptation and Die Krupps bred fury yet something wholly unique and pressingly bewitching. Its oppressive angst and fiery climate is followed by the openly different yet magnetically similar Unaffected, another abrasing furnace of sound and intent which takes the listener gently by the hand before throwing them into a turbulent pit of sonic rage and passion. There is an underlying tempting though, melodic and rhythmic, which nags throughout the tempestuous offering and has its loudest say in the passage of restrained emotion and sound which provokes before a climactic finale.
The instrumental title track gnaws on the senses next, its cavernous shadows and tones drawing on Killing joke and Wire seeding as a sonic haze haunts and provokes the emotions. It is an intimidating web of noise and intent which continues into the hidden depths and dark corners of Skin Ritual. Again Wire springs to mind, its bleak breath and enticing slithers of melodic coaxing engrossing, especially with the additional female vocals aligning to those of Dawe. It is a strenuously mesmeric encounter which smoulders and ripples with emotional temptation and electronic incitement like a hope fuelled dream within a suffocating sleep.
From that somnambulistic flight, Begin Again offers a raw and corrosive embrace which is ignited by the virulently infectious military exercise of the drums. Simultaneously crawling over the senses and exposing body and thoughts to a dervish like assault of inescapable rhythmic captivation, the predominantly instrumental track is a mystique lit fall into a bedlamic state of sonic and emotional antagonism. It is an uncompromising and exhaustive yet reassuringly rewarding seduction which is surpassed by the outstanding Metacell whose rhythmic temptation is also driven by an irresistible virulence. A rolling swagger of drums jabs is soon joined by a predatory voracity of riffs and vocals, their charm carnivorous and touch hostile yet courted by a magnetic stride of beats. It makes for a deep rooted addiction, much like the album, and provides another pinnacle of what in many ways is a resourcefully psychotic release.
Both Fallout and Cast assault and transfix ears with a creative voracity within deceptively minimalistic structures and temptations. The first is a seductive croon prone to sonic outbursts crossed with passion drenched rages and its successor a haunting caress of the senses brought by an emotional causticity. Both tracks test and spark reflective reactions with their absorbing ingenuity. Neither though can match the glorious deep shadows and intimate provocation of Undone, a song soaked in melodic beauty, classically seeded keys, and seductive elegance. It is a sonic sunset which engulfs the imagination before making way for the similarly enthralling closing track Shade, its title telling you all you need to know about its tone and emotions, if not the sweeping beauty and melodic majesty within its temptation.
It is a mighty end to an album which enslaves the imagination and passions from start to finish. Reaping the seeds of old school post punk austerity with a more modern industrial rapacity, Ventenner twist them into something scintillating and emotionally epic verging on disturbing as evidenced by the brilliant Distorture.
Distorture is available via Sonic Fire Records now @ http://sonicfire.bandcamp.com/album/distorture
RingMaster 01/09 2014
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