Vena Amori - The Seduction of an American Housewife (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Vena Amori

The Seduction of an American Housewife (2006)

The Death Scene

So much for this band having potential.

Vena Amori's last effort was in the vein of Atreyu -- albeit much better, and this one is just…ugh. Gone this time around are the slick metal riffs and raspily screamed vocals that made them somewhat of a force. Gone is the raw production that kept the band from sounding glossy and lifeless. Gone is the fact that they didn't try to force sung vocals as so many of the other bands in this ilk.

The Seduction of an American Housewife is, quite simply, a mess. They try to do way too much and the result is a cumbersome album in which the band members are fumbling over themselves and their own bandmates trying to do something worthwhile. It's all bad, it's just all bad.

The vocals first and foremost, I don't understand what happened there. I'll grant that singer Justin Osbourn was never an equal to Jake Bannon, but he did have some style and substance that holstered the sometimes meandering instrumentation of his bandmates. Over the course of a year, Osbourn somehow went from a solid raspy scream to a man in desperate need of a throat lozenge. It's that bad. Every line he delivers shows a guy straining to hit any notes at all. It's muddled, and frankly embarrassing. Worse yet is the heavy emphasis put on singing this time around. That's something they were smart enough to avoid with the preceding EP, was the mix of sing/scream vocals that so many of their peers fall right into a trap with.

The title track is proof of the band's misguided song structures, as they're never really able to find a direction. The song is playing, but it's simply not going anywhere. Remember level 4-4 in the original Mario Bros. game? Where if you don't pick the right path, you keep going, and going, and going, and making absolutely no headway whatsoever? Yeah, that's this song.

Everything from the lame samples to the tragic vocal mistakes drains this album of any life, intensity, or merit that it could have had. These guys were on the right track before, and I don't know what exactly it was that derailed them, but they can no longer even see the rails.