Vena Amori - Richard Allen Dalton (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Vena Amori

Richard Allen Dalton (2005)

The Death Scene

Oh, wait, this isn't Atreyu? Sure could have fooled me. Vena Amori, I mean Atreyu, have pulled one hell of a Houdini act, disguising themselves as a brand new band, but leaving close to the exact same sound.

The same things that make Atreyu appeal to 15-year-old goths everywhere are the same elements that will undoubtedly allow those very same fans to eat this album up. It's got slick metal riffing and the occasional hardcore breakdown, and the caustic screaming of vocalist Justin Osbourn is juxtaposed with the background singing of bassist Tim Buchholtz and his brother, drummer Mike Buchholtz. What makes them at least a little different than Atreyu, and a little different than From Autumn to Ashes is the production.

It has a much more raw, real feel to the sound of it all, rather than the glossy, Pro Tooled textures of the most recent efforts from each of the aforementioned bands. The saving grace is Osbourn, because he's got a real versatile vocal pattern. He can alternate between a high raspy scream and a lower scream with a much thicker tone seemingly with ease. Just because of his voice, every song has at least a chance to be enjoyable, and in truth, even the background singing doesn't sound too forced or trite. It's used sparingly, so when it does appear it's not jarring or momentum stopping. The rhythms in "Home Movies" are quick to progress and add some underlying melody, with Osbourn shredding his vocal chords over the top of it, and the singing that comes in at the end is actually somewhat of a welcome addition.

One snag the EP faces is that only two of the tracks are actually new. The first two are new recordings, but the last 3 are actually old demo tracks they chose to include, and when it comes down to it, the differences in sound are too trivial to really affect anything other than the flow between tracks two and three. The songs are cut from the exact same mold, and the production is still solid; the rawness works well in their favor here again.

As token and unoriginal as this band is, I really can't help but liking this record at least a little bit. Take Atreyu, subtract a lot of the singing, the gothic imagery, and the glossy production, and Vena Amori is what you'll have.