Author: Alejandro "Morgoth" Valenzuela
(Via Nocturna, 2018)
#FOR FANS OF: Black/Death
Now, when we find a band like Lilla Veneda is hard to say where they want to land and what their music is about because they seem to want to take a direction towards darkness, grimness and melancholy in some points, and being violent, visceral and bestial in some other parts without finding their middle ground.
Lilla Veneda is a Polish band that at first sight looks like a black metal band, their lyrical themes are related to philosophy, romance and misanthropy, their art direction allude obscurity and sadness (check the album cover art), but they play a sophisticated yet indefinite mix of many things. I wouldn't say they are a blackened death metal band, because it is interesting how they combine the elements of their music, however, it is difficult to pigeonhole them in a concrete genre and in this case is not a virtue, and that problem is present in the whole album.
Lilla Veneda's second record is bold and full of good music, right from the opener song "Divination" you can tell they are talented musicians, the structure of their compositions is complex and well thought, guitar riffs are diverse and powerful, the bass line is solid and drums are creative, the vocals, however, stays behind at some points, since the music overshadows it. The guitarist especially shines offering a great collection of heavy riffs and extreme moments.
Tough clearly this album has a sublime production and exquisite mastering, the band does too little to transmit their message, maybe I'm going to hard on Lilla Veneda, but to me, the album as good as can be, can't convey me much. However, the complex instrumentation and the skilled musicians aren't enough to create the art that can touch and affect others, take a brutal/technical death metal band for instance, as impressive and superb their music is, it remains sterile. To me that's the problem with this album, I feel little to nothing with its music, and maybe someone can be very touched with this album tracks and technique, but I'm a black metal head, emotion is important in my music, and darkness as ambiguous as it can be, contributes with an important element of thrill.
There are some songs that stand out and seem to express more, songs like "Divination", "Martyranny" and "Wheel of misfortune", something worth mentioning is the presence of a violin to add ambiance to the music and more specifically to this songs. Guitar solos are short but well executed, and the guitar work shines in the melodic parts. Impressively how the shortest and last song is the highlight of the album, "Chmury" is a song where they crafted black/death metal more coherently: is heavy, fast, rampant yet grim and dark, this song has essence, soul and a motive, we get to listen to black metal riffs and some sort of angry melancholy, the lyrics are dismal and poetic.
In the end, Lilla Veneda's second album is not a bad effort, but it seems lost, indecisive in the objective, the band seems unsure if they want to crush it and be fierce and savage or to be more emotional, cathartic and grim. We can only wait and see if the band finds its way and perfection their formula because this album could have been a masterpiece if they had focused more in the expression of ideas and feelings than in the delivery of dexterous performance.