On 1st September, Ventenner release their monolithic new album ‘Distorture’ through Sonic Fire Records.
From its opening sinister throb ‘Distorture’ takes its place in the theatre of dystopia ready to move and to challenge; breathlessly hypnotic it’s carefully layered to take on a life of its own. The instrumental opener ‘Rise’ warmly worms its way into your ear with a hushed sense of menace, slowly embedding a trail of tantalizing trauma along the way, sowing the seeds for something altogether more destructive. Flowing through the canals ‘Six Blood’ surges with a beating paranoia that purrs “take me away from this, just leave me somewhere else” before you are whipped into a riptide of crashing guitars, larynx shredding vocals and a kraken-esque rhythm section, with ‘Wave’ ushering into view it combines explosively heavy riffing with a gentle piano melody exploiting the loud/quiet dynamic to a blistering effect.
The dark altrock/industrial reference points dart from Nine Inch Nails to Gary Numan, Depeche Mode, Atari Teenage Riot with hints of early Marilyn Manson and Smashing Pumpkins also there. Following on from 2012s electronic ‘This Is the Reason’, ‘Distorture’ is a far more titanic beast; the experimenting with synthesizers is still there but the added full band treatment gives it something rawer, something a little more dangerous. Like Trent Reznor, this record isn’t noise for noise sake, there is always an undercurrent of a melody which is apparent on ‘Skin Ritual’ which patrols the boundaries of melancholy, ebbing itself away from the twisted chaos, the almost euphoric presence of the backing vocals pull you along in a harmonious walking daydream away from the instrumental post punk of predecessor ‘Distorture’.
Edging into the second half of the record you’re met with militaristic drumming of ‘Begin Again’ which segue-ways into ‘Metacell’ which is the maddening sound of a musical equivalent of bombs dropping on tanks and here is where the worming bedlam spreads from your ear and surges through you. Teasing you with the delicate ‘Fallout’ which twists and turns, inviting you in before ripping you from your feet and throwing you into the darkness. There you wander the shadows with ‘Cast’ and the haunting piano presence of ‘Undone’, lost in a labyrinth of wrong turns and false exits. There is something overwhelmingly cinematic as the record closes in on its final moments, a cacophony of rage, anger and reflections of noise terrorism balances a fine line with melodic expansive endlessness which is highlighted on ‘Shade’ before the curtain comes down on ‘House of Ten’.
Sitting in a dark place between a David Lynch and John Carpenter nightmare; this is an album that needs to breathe, its needs time and one that requires your fullest attention to delve into the captivating moments of calm and beauty and surrender to its shadowy presence.
Rise | Six Blood | Wave | Unaffected | Distorture | Skin Ritual | Begin Again | Metacell | Fallout | Cast | Undone | Shade | House of Ten
6th September – London, Electrowekz
18th October – London, Electrowerkz w/ Hanzel Und Gretyl
30th November – London, O2 Academy w/ Orgy
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- photos/review: Pearl Jam live at the Hampton Coliseum credit Gary Horton