Hailing from Cleveland, Ventana is an industrial band who has all the ingredients to be a mass success in the industrial scene, but is yet to break through because they formed in only 2004 and haven't had the sufficient time to build a big reputation for themselves. American Survival Guide Vol.1 is their debut, and so far their only effort. Blending the elements of modern day metal with hardcore techno dance beats, and industrial influences, American Survival Guide Vol.1 is an industrial album full of unpredictable twists and turns.
The album starts off with a track titled "Watch Us Burn". "Watch us Burn" starts with a nice, soothing intro but after 40 seconds it heavily blasts into the main part. The song gives the listener a good general idea what the album will sound like. Heavy guitar riffs, interesting drum patterns, real strong atmosphere and memorable choruses are the main keywords that define the overall sound of American Survival Guide Vol.1. The vocal work is sufficiently strong and while not all that melodic, it still does its duty to keep the song's interesting. If you are looking for great melodies, breathtaking electronic effects and a "fun" listen then Ventana is definitely not the industrial band for you. Ventana's straight in your face, heavy industrial is meant for listeners who enjoy the heavier side of industrial metal.
The most important factor in Ventana's music is the musicianship. The way that all the instruments are able to create a strong unified sound in industrial music is a rarity, but Ventana has mastered that art. While listening to the songs it is clear that the guys have really put much effort in this album and that they have done it with their hearts and also with their heads. Drums, guitar lines, bass, vocals and the electronic effects which are provided by Rick “St1tch” Thomas of Mushroomhead are all in perfect harmony. That in the other hand doesn't mean that the album is full of memorable melodies. There is plenty of atmosphere found in here, songs like "The Fallen Idol" and "Swords" burst out atmosphere in big doses, but the melodies in here are kept in the background. If it weren't for St1tch, this album would be quite unmelodious all the way through since the guitar lines are heavy, but lack any kind of melody in them and drumming, naturally, can't make an album melodic. Also the vocalist Jonny “Vegas” Sayre is not the most harmonic singer on the planet. St1tch is the man who adds some pretty neat programming/sampling effects and so creates the melodies found in this album. They are in the background and are overshadowed by the guitars, drums and vocals, but they are still present.
The true driving force behind this album are the guitars and drums. Various drum patters found in here are very interesting and surprisingly complex at times for industrial. Dan Fox is a talented drummer and thankfully he doesn't have that disease that is spreading in today's metal world and is called "the abusive overuse of double bass ". He does use the double bass at some points, but it never becomes tiring or boring. His beats are always very fitting, it doesn't matter if they are slow or fast and there is plenty of variation in his playing.
The guitarwork in here, like said above is very heavy, downtuned and mostly bass driven. It isn't very complex but is still very nice to listen to. Some riffs are, despite the lack of melody, very enthralling and even force to headbang a bit. Combined with the electronics, the guitars, drums and bass create a sound that could be described as a new wave of industrial which is heavy, tough and full of atmosphere. Not too complex, neither overly simplistic, a bit unmelodic, yet full of atmosphere and feeling, this sound could very well be the defined sound of industrial in the future. Only, there is the fact that Ventana has already crafted it for us today.
Watch Us Burn
The Fallen Idol