• 8.5/10
    VENTURIA - Hybrid - 8.5/10


Lion Music
Release date: September 12, 2008

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Back in 2006 Venturia took the Progressive Metal world by complete surprise. In a genre swamped with Dream Theater wannabes that became staler by the month, Venturia came along with their debut album, The New Kingdom and breathed new life into a tired and jaded music form.

With a unique genre busting sound combining cutting edge Progressive elements with deliciously Melodic Pop fueled harmonies built around the contrasting, yet so compatible, vocal talents of Lydie Robins and Marc Ferrieira, The New Kingdom was hailed as a modern classic and set the benchmark for others to reach.

“The second album” is a notoriously difficult one to make. A band can spend years honing their first album’s worth of material knocking it into shape over countless live shows. The follow up, more often than not, develops over a much shorter time frame and with expectations so much higher the second time around, the pressure to produce a worthy follow up album is one that has caused many bands to crack under the strain.

It is pleasing to report that Venturia have not fallen into that dreaded trap and Hybrid sees them spreading out and building on the foundations laid by their superb debut.

On first listening to Hybrid, the initial feeling is quite possibly one of mild disappointment. The immediate hooks that gave The New Kingdom such an impact do not seem to be there this time around.

However, as with most complex releases of this ilk, it should not be judged on one spin and subsequent plays reveal the full glories of Hybrid and each time new sounds and textures appear and everything begins to make sense.

Hybrid is a more mature album than its predecessor. It demands more attention and effort from the listener and the two year gap between albums has resulted in a slow burner of a masterpiece with Venturia breaking new ground and crashing through the barriers constraining the Progressive Metal genre.

Opener “Swearing Lies” has an almost Trip-Hop element to the introduction before the cutting riffs kick in thundering along at a frantic pace prior to a dreamlike harmony chorus which is pure, classic Venturia.

“Be The One” features an almost Korn-like Nu-Metal style opening before a layer of ethereal, atmospheric keyboards descends to add an extra dimension to the song. With an ambient back beat providing the foundation to Lydie Robins’ sweet vocal to the first section of the verse and a cast iron main riff which underpins Marc Ferreira’s vocal, the contrasting vocal styles of both vocalists intertwine and enhance the others to perfection. Again, the chorus is a harmonious delight.

The towering metallic riffs continue in “Running Blind” which has an almost White Zombie vibe to it, yet Rob Zombie never sounded this melodic.

The vocal interplay between Lydie and Ferrieira proves to be the main focal point of the album. Both have different styles to the other and both sound totally different to anyone else in the Rock field at the moment. There’s no operatic female or “Cookie Monster” male vocals here, thank goodness, just two quality singers who know how to hold a tune.

Having a unique style in the music world is a rarity these days but Venturia have succeeded in welding their influences together and add something special that gives them their very own identity.

It’s not all to do with the vocals though as guitarist Charly Sahona puts in a sterling performance throughout cranking out riffs of rapier-like precision and solos to satisfy the most Prog-minded of guitar fiends. At times there are hints of the excellent Steve Morse in there and at others, Dream Theater’s John Petrucci and to be mentioned alongside such luminaries is no mean feat. Just listen to the stunning solo to close “Sparkling Rain”, or the mid section of “Love Gamers” for a perfect blend of melody and technical wizardry which will see the name of Sahona elevated up alongside his illustrious peers.

Drummer Diego Rappacchietti is also a name that will become more familiar to you over the coming years if his performance here is anything to go on, whether it’s the racing double bass drum assault of “Hottest Ticket in Town”, the ethnic drumming of “Pearls of Dawn” or the complex fills in the sprawling epic “Sublimated Dementia”, this is one impressive performance from the skinsman. Fans of Neil Peart and Mike Portnoy will soon be adding Rappacchietti to their list of favourite drummers.

Highlights of the album include the aforementioned “Sublimated Dementia”, a song that takes many twists and turns throughout its thrilling nine and a half minute running time; the mysterious Eastern flavoured “Will You Save Me?” and possibly the pick of the bunch, the gorgeous, haunting “Why? This Woman’s Life” where Lydie Robins heartfelt voice is simply beautiful. It’s spine tingling stuff and maybe Venturia’s finest song to date.

Venturia have succeeded where many have failed. A second album that builds and develops from the high standards laid down on the debut. On listening to this for the fourth or fifth time it’s difficult to believe that the initial feelings were one of disappointment and proves that some of the best albums are those that don’t immediately reveal their delights straight away. This is one such case. Give this album the time and attention it deserves and you’ll be richly rewarded with one of the finest and unique Progressive Metal albums of 2008.


  • Mick Burgess

    Mick is a reviewer and photographer here at Metal Express Radio, based in the North-East of England. He first fell in love with music after hearing Jeff Wayne's spectacular The War of the Worlds in the cold winter of 1978. Then in the summer of '79 he discovered a copy of Kiss Alive II amongst his sister’s record collection, which literally blew him away! He then quickly found Van Halen I and Rainbow's Down To Earth, and he was well on the way to being rescued from Top 40 radio hell!   Over the ensuing years, he's enjoyed the Classic Rock music of Rush, Blue Oyster Cult, and Deep Purple; the AOR of Journey and Foreigner; the Pomp of Styx and Kansas; the Progressive Metal of Dream Theater, Queensrÿche, and Symphony X; the Goth Metal of Nightwish, Within Temptation, and Epica, and a whole host of other great bands that are too numerous to mention. When he's not listening to music, he watches Sunderland lose more football (soccer) matches than they win, and occasionally, if he has to, he goes to work as a property lawyer.

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