This German post-hardcore act was a new musical discovery for me but caught my attention when I got my hands on a copy of their upcoming album ‘Aspire’ to give it a good few listens and really dissect what this band are about. On first playthrough, when her vocals come in you’re tricked into thinking all the vocals will be this soft, but very quickly there’s some bite to the delivery which really strengthens your confidence that this will be a great album. The production of the record being very attentive to detail is also something you notice very early into the first song.  Immediately, I find myself drawing comparisons to a better and heavier version of Skillet or a modern version of Kittie, and maybe a more post-hardcore and metal version of Lacuna Coil. The choice of guitar tones and pummelling drums help this first track Ignite and retains his angsty vibe despite some of the softer rock and almost pop inflections woven within the song. It’s catchy in all the right ways.

As the album progresses, the flow seems reminiscent of a female fronted Bullet For My Valentine almost. At times, the vocals steal the show, but the guitars are still thoroughly interesting to listen to and the musicianship of all members is particularly evident here. The vocalist has a unique mix of harsh undertones to her voice with a pop sheen over the top. I could draw comparisons to Hayley Williams of Paramore or Ella Hooper of Killing Heidi, and while she indulges in the angsty, projected vocals, she still manages to sound feminine and soft when called for and her style is quitter versatile, fitting the music perfectly. This is especially apparent at the end of Lights as her tone becomes quite mellow towards the end.

As the album progresses, the flow seems reminiscent of a female fronted Bullet For My Valentine almost. At times, the vocals steal the show, but the guitars are still thoroughly interesting to listen to and the musicianship of all members is particularly evident here. The vocalist has a unique mix of harsh undertones to her voice with a pop sheen over the top. I could draw comparisons to Hayley Williams of Paramore or Ella Hooper of Killing Heidi, and while she indulges in the angsty, projected vocals, she still manages to sound feminine and soft when called for and her style is quitter versatile, fitting the music perfectly. This is especially apparent at the end of Lights as her tone becomes quite mellow towards the end.

Third song on the album, The Longing gets started and the first thing I notice, is that the male vocals now more clearly hardcore influenced than before and a lot more of that side of the band is starting to show through. There are some great guitar melodies floating around, complimenting the vocal melodies while the drums keep a solid, upbeat mood flowing through the track. The guitars have some more room to breathe towards the end, with a solo creating an epic peak in the song as both vocalists and the drums ramp up a notch before going back to the hook. Dillemma has a much more metal core guitar intro, much heavier, almost djent, yett offers some of the softer and more subdued vocals, before absolutely pummelling you with a hook-laden chorus and a heavy verse after which lets the male vocals take the reigns.

Third song on the album, The Longing gets started and the first thing I notice, is that the male vocals now more clearly hardcore influenced than before and a lot more of that side of the band is starting to show through. There are some great guitar melodies floating around, complimenting the vocal melodies while the drums keep a solid, upbeat mood flowing through the track. The guitars have some more room to breathe towards the end, with a solo creating an epic peak in the song as both vocalists and the drums ramp up a notch before going back to the hook. Dillemma has a much more metal core guitar intro, much heavier, almost djent, yett offers some of the softer and more subdued vocals, before absolutely pummelling you with a hook-laden chorus and a heavy verse after which lets the male vocals take the reigns.

Fading Away was released on the 6th of July and is the fourth track on ‘Aspire’ and is a truly epic collection of powerful vocals in harmony, progressive metalcore guitar work and a drummer that does not hold back with his hard hitting style and groove, building the band up as a solid and energetic unit, while the vocals and guitars serve to elevate the mood and give it an edge that I don’t think would have been possible with just one vocalist and one vocal style. The groove in the end of this song is phenomenal and even being someone that would generally prefer other genre’s I find myself genuinely enjoying and getting into this song and listening to it a good few times.

My True North comes in with a softer strings and clean guitar before bringing in the heavier guitars. I loved the intro to this song, it’s dynamic more akin to melodic hardcore. I could easily see these guys on a bill with either Lacuna Coil or A Life Once Lost at this point. This song is extremely well written, its simplicity is just enough that it’s catchy, which contrasts well with the aggression they let out in the choruses and the raw vocal delivery side by side with such well-refined and strong female elements works in perfect harmony in this song. The solo later in the song reminds you that the technical elements of the band are neither overdone nor lacking in any way, and while the vocals are often the focus of the songs, the musicianship of the guitarists is evident throughout the album.

Star Children is a loud, invigorating show of this bands power. This track has an almost punky vibe to it, with a positive energy and lyrics basically screaming at you to be who you want to be. If someone had described this to me, I would imagine the concept being a lot cornier, but in execution, it’s a thoroughly great track. The solo at the end absolutely shreds, and the layers of both vocals interact throughout the end of the song to give you an epic end to a song that makes you just want to go out and kick ass. Nothing Less comes in again with the softer, very pop-production vocal style but quickly returns to the relentless barrage of guitars and vocals full of energy and fire.

Shades of Memory is mostly quieter in nature throughout the beginning but, despite the softness of this song, the drums and guitar melodies toward the end mixing seamlessly with the harsh vocals serve to remind you this band are not just catchy, they’re heavy, and they’re here to make sure you pay attention to this album. The second-last track Silence is again on the softer and slower side, with more focus on the melodies than making it balls to the wall heavy, but without sacrificing integrity at all. This song is emotive and a nice breather after the last few songs being so full of sonic elements, the simplicity of this one is appreciated. The chorus echoes through to the end, with Ignite bringing in a few synth elements in the intro and starting off with isolated vocals and instrumentation that slowly builds. Towards the middle of this song her vocals start to swell from ‘girl next door’ to ‘screaming rebel with a cause’ you can feel the emotion in her voice when she’s belting out lyrics “this will be the end.” There’s hints of Underoath or Flyleaf in the vocals in this song, which further cements them in the post-hardcore genre even at their most subdued.

In many ways, I could compare this band to both modern popular rock bands as well as some of the heavy hitters in the female fronted metal genres, but no comparisons would be 100% accurate. VENUES carry elements from so many styles of music through each song on this album. They’ve got a very well refined niche here, somewhere in the middle of post hardcore, metal, and pop rock, that seems to be accessible for people into heavy metal and hardcore, but also appealing to those who don’t mind a few heavy guitar and fast drum sections in their music but love the clean vocal attack and fun choruses of pop and radio friendly rock as their indulgence into the heavy.

Pre-order your copy of Aspire out July 27 via Nuclear Blast HERE!

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