Review Summary: Don’t finalize those best of 2010 lists yet. Massive and intense, Amia Venera Landscape pummel you with chaotic riffs, violent shouts and frenzied percussion without forgetting to let up just often enough to make you drop your guard.
This year has been great for metal music (and music in general, it seems), but before anyone starts compiling their ‘best of 2010’ list there is another album that must be heard. The Long Procession
is the debut album by Italian sextet Amia Venera Landscape and it is absolutely ferocious throughout most of its sixty-six minute run-time. Imagine, if you will, the chaotic post-hardcore riffs of Define the Great Line
combined with the expansive peaks and valleys of a latter-day Isis
track, add a bit of math metal to the mix, and finally push up the levels of intensity as well as the ambient atmospheres and you’ll have a basic idea of what to expect. The problem is that until you actually receive the frenzied bludgeoning that this album delivers, you’re still probably not even close to knowing what is actually on The Long Procession
Almost every aspect of this album is huge and overwhelming. The vocalist’s massive growl/scream dominates over almost every track and is delivered with a conviction that is rarely matched. As if that isn’t enough, most of the songs simply move from one giant climactic set of riffs and notes to the next with only the occasional quiet reprieve. Taking things one step further, the entire collection flows from one track to the next causing the album to feel like one massive sledgehammer of a song. The epic feel doesn’t end there, though. The songs have a way of building to a point where it seems as though they couldn’t get any more powerful, and it’s usually at that instance that they lurch forward one final time to an entirely new dynamic level. Whether it is the huge closing of “Empire” that somehow manages to surpass the first four minutes of unrelenting chaos or the giant riff that comes from out of nowhere on “A New Aurora,” they always seem to find a way to step up the power. Even the portions that include clean singing and melodic passages can’t suitably be called melodious because the aggression is constantly maintained by their beast of a drummer. Quite simply, if the drummer is on the track he is beating the *** out of his kit with focused hostility.
Of course, sixty-six minutes of unrelenting aggression would eventually lose its edge if there was absolutely nothing to contrast with it and that is why the band also makes excellent use of ambient passages within the album. The first prolonged instance of this ambient element is found on the eight minute track, “Ascending” – this is notable for a few reasons. The largest reason is because it is the perfect spot to mention that the band may occasionally take the ambient side a little too far. It’s really a minor nit-pick, but a few moments less of ambience here-and-there would have probably actually helped the pacing of the album. Again, it’s only a minor issue since most of the time the ambient sections are kept to a simple piano melody or a few moments of abstract synth sounds. The other reason worth mentioning “Ascending” is that it comes at the perfect time because it allows the listener to catch their breath after the first three bludgeoning tracks and sets the stage for the fourteen-minute monster of an instrumental, “Marasm.” “Marasm” is the culmination of all Amia Venera Landscape’s various musical influences crammed into a brooding instrumental piece that transitions from the serene to the chaotic with regularity.
At a time when most people have already set their top albums of the year in stone, Amia Venera Landscape have shown up at the last possible moment to shatter those lists. Their music is easily some of the most intense of the year due to thunderous shouts, monstrous post hardcore/metal riffs, frantic percussion and the ability to draw down often enough to keep things from just becoming a dull roar. If there is only one final new album that you listen to this year it absolutely should be The Long Procession
by Amia Venera Landscape.