Review Summary: A crushing blend of post-hardcore, atmospheric sludge metal, ambient, and then some.
For critics, placing music into genres is often seen as a necessary evil. Everything has to sound like something before it so that they can all fit neatly into the same labelled folder together. For the most part this system works and any kind of music can be fairly accurately described with just one genre tag. But every now and again a band or musician comes along and just messes with the whole system. Amia Venera Landscape is one of those bands.
While they may not be able to claim complete originality, Amia Venera Landscape draw from so many different influences that it’s nigh impossible to pin them down to just one style. Perhaps the most immediate sound that comes to mind is that of post-hardcore, and there are certainly enough Define the Great Line
-era Underoath-sounding riffs and vocal stylings for them to be classified as such. But what about that speed and technicality in “Empire” that sounds like it could have been taken straight from a Dillinger Escape Plan record? Or the atmospheric post-metal sections akin to bands such as Isis and Rosetta? There is even a lengthy ambient passage that constitutes much of the album’s midsection.
Music as diverse as this always has the potential to sound over-the-top but Amia Venera Landscape generally avoid falling into this trap. The songs are lengthy and progressive but rarely does anything sound out of place. When the band delve head-first into ambience with “Ascending,” it comes at just the right time; the previous three tracks all revolve around the post-hardcore sound mentioned earlier and “Ascending” is the perfect breather. Elsewhere, “Marasm” is perhaps the best track on The Long Procession
(tied with “Empire”). A sprawling, near 15-minute instrumental based around epic post-metal soundscapes, “Marasm” sees the band exploring a slightly longer route to kicking your face in and the result is simply stunning. The song is allowed to expand and build slowly and it reaps massive benefits from this. “Nicholas” is the final piece of the puzzle and it really should have been the closer. Instead, the album continues for another 10 minutes with a couple of somewhat less impressive tracks. While they may not be bad songs per say, they aren’t quite able to match up to the intensity of the previous eight compositions and the added length just drags the album a little too far over a comfortable running time. This is ultimately a minor complaint, however, for an otherwise brilliant record.
I really couldn’t tell you which genre Amia Venera Landscape falls under, but what I can tell you is that this is one hell of an album that, if approached with an open-mind, you certainly won’t regret listening to.