Venenum – Trance of Death (Ajna Offensive)

A haunting cell intro with dashes of piano kick things off.  How inventive for a metal album right?  We’ve all heard it before.  Any minute now, a cacophony of of music will strike.  We will receive that initial ‘metal’ adrenaline rush of headbanging and then lose interest within a few minutes.  It happens a lot in music where the buildup at the beginning is the best part of an album.  This is not the case for the debut LP Trance of Death by Venenum.

Venenum started 5 years ago with their self-titled mini-album. It was good, but they needed a little tweaking in the songwriting department. They have honed their craft to give us their first full-length and they do not disappoint. Upon first listen, this album feels and sounds like many other metal albums which lean on the black/death metal sound. However, upon repeated listens, something special and unique comes to the forefront. Quality swaths of melody and brutality are forged together to make this one of the best releases I’ve heard this year.

The songwriting here is top notch along with a crystal clear production. The vocals and every instrument come through loud and clear to make every listen a rewarding experience.

I always expect great things from Ajna Offensive (handling the North America release), but they’ve gone above and beyond with this one. Surprisingly, there hasn’t been the level hype around this as say Horrendous or Khemmis have received in recent years. I certainly hope this one doesn’t fly under the radar when it comes time for year-end lists as more folks need to hear this one. A new death metal classic in 2017? Time will tell.