Veni Domine
Light


4.0
excellent

Review

by Voivod STAFF
January 7th, 2015 | 25 replies


Release Date: 05/23/2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Lay down, lay low.

Doom rock was established as a genre back in the early ‘70s, yet its evolution through time was far more gradual, compared to other rock and/or metal genres. Black Sabbath provided the assembly language for it with their first two albums, a language that became richer through outfits like Pentagram, Jacula, Black Widow, and Coven. During the ‘80s, the genre was baptized in metal through the pioneering work of Trouble, Candlemass and Saint Vitus. While there’s no doubt that each of the aforementioned outfits developed its own sound, Trouble pushed their affair a little further by mixing doom rock/metal with prog rock on the sophomore album The Skull. However, the said initiative was not further or fully adopted neither by Trouble (aside from certain songs in Run To The Light) nor by any other relevant outfit. It was not until the early ‘90s, when bands from both banks of the Atlantic – Solitude Aeturnus, Confessor and Veni Domine – came to strengthen the said prog metal initiatives for good.

Sweden’s Veni Domine in particular, took the world by surprise with their first two albums, in which the dramatic tone of selected passages from the Bible was coated with intense, “operatic” progressive doom metal. In contrast to the trend of rehashing and repetition that most metal bands come to adopt sooner or later, the band distanced itself from the aforementioned triumphs in search of new ways of expression. The temporal inconsistency between successive releases combined with the rather abrupt and hit-or-miss shifts in style, pushed Veni Domine deeper into the underground, to the point where it was uncertain whether the band is still active. Their return last year with the album Light was one of the biggest surprises for the author of this review. What’s equally surprising in the best of ways is that the new album has managed to balance Veni Domine’s excellent doom metal credentials with the ongoing need for experimentation in terms of song writing.

The album kicks off ideally with “In Memoriam”. Heavy – power/doom metal in design - riffs are combined with ethereal melodies stemming from classical instruments (piano and cello) and the magnificent voice of Fredrik Sjöholm. Those familiar with early ‘90s Veni Domine will be inclined to believe the days of old have come to the present, but Light is a different affair. The doom metal feeling is expressed mostly through melodic/atmospheric rock (some would even call it “adult oriented rock” (AOR)). Fortunately, the arrangements have very little in common with AOR’s “naïve” (for the most part) song writing, as along with the vocal melodies and the lyrics, they have the necessary weight to withstand repeated listens. This holds despite the notable absence of heavy guitar distortion which tends to conceal the absence of solid song writing in doom metal. Regarding the lyrics, Veni Domine are known for their dedicated Christian beliefs, yet they are not annoyingly preachy. Rather, the lyrics are written and performed as if someone, regardless of the religion, is conversing with a confessor, while feeling joy and sorrow at the same time.

Technically, the album is flawless. The sound of the drums is physical, whereas the tone of other instruments – guitars (acoustic and electric), keyboards – is analogously adjusted, so as to embrace the mesmerizing vocals of Fredrik Sjöholm. Far from the unreachable heights evidenced in the early Veni Domine releases, he sets the appropriate mood for the new material, whereas he adds a few vocal intricacies here and there. In particular, the reader is prompted to listen to “Oh Great City”, a song from the debut album Fall Babylon Fall, which has been excellently processed through the band’s current modus operandi. This song encapsulates the success of the Light album; new life has been breathed on legacy material, whereas the style devised herein could be of use in future releases. Unfortunately, this album is the last call on behalf of the Swedes who decided to disband after 27 years of activity. Considering the quality of Light, this is a sad turn of events for the inherently restrained circuit of (Swedish and worldwide) progressive/doom metal, however Veni Domine have left behind a body of work that deserves to be explored in depth.



Recent reviews by this author
Paradise Lost The Plague WithinStormride Stormride
Sumerlands The Guardian (demo)Trial (SWE) Vessel
Sepiroth UninvolvedAngelus Apatrida Hidden Evolution
user ratings (7)
Chart.
3.6
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Voivod
Staff Reviewer
January 7th 2015


6711 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Happy new year everyone. As always, constructive criticism is welcome.



The album is streaming at: https://play.spotify.com/album/7gbc2peX4Y7Y39baBeNJ4G







"In Memoriam" - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KNdMnjn4wA4#t=62

Digging: Spectral Lore - Voyager

manosg
Contributing Reviewer
January 7th 2015


8105 Comments


Great review as always, Voivod.

I've never checked these guys even though I've heard of their doom/power sound which is very intriguing. Gonna start with their debut.

Digging: Suicidal Tendencies - Lights...Camera...Revolution

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
January 7th 2015


6711 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Thanks.



The '90s albums are all good - Material Sanctuary is the best of the three - the '00s albums are an acquired taste, though.

Gyromania
January 7th 2015


17583 Comments


really awesome album art

good review as per usual


Voivod
Staff Reviewer
January 7th 2015


6711 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

The artwork for this album was made by the band's vocalist.



The band's logo is awesome two.

Gyromania
January 7th 2015


17583 Comments


this strikes me as incredibly cheesy at points, but i kinda like that. the climax in where the story ends is really good.

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
January 7th 2015


6711 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Yeah, as I've written in the review, the band is prone to experimentation and in this album, it comes in the form of melodic/AOR rock. At first it was kind of a let down for me too because of the lack of heavy guitars, but with multiple listens the album grew within me as a relaxing listen.



In the liner notes for "Oh Great City" it says



"Lean back, find peace and enjoy this tune from the past" which perfectly describes the album in its entirety.

Shiranui
January 7th 2015


355 Comments


Will definitely check and atmospheric, melodic sounds great.

Friday13th
January 8th 2015


3865 Comments


Their debut is definitely one of my jams. Cool that they did a remake here. Seeing names like Trouble, Queensryche, Saviour Machine...yeah, this is up my alley!

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
January 9th 2015


6711 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

You should definitely check Material Sanctuary which is even better than the debut.



Trouble are merely mentioned because they were the first doom metal band that created ties with prog rock, but Veni Domine played the same card in a fundamentally different way.



Too bad Light is their last album...

Friday13th
January 9th 2015


3865 Comments


I've heard a bit of MS. I didn't hear anything as good as "Wisdom Calls" or "Chronicles of the Seven Seals"
but I'll give it another shot. Do you think Light is the their best since then?

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
January 9th 2015


6711 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

^^Yes, I do, and that seems to apply for most people aware of Veni Domine's past work.

Friday13th
January 9th 2015


3865 Comments


Right, I'll check it after MS.

Shiranui
January 10th 2015


355 Comments


There's some blues in there.

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
January 10th 2015


6711 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

^^Definitely, and it blends well with everything else in the album.

LordePots
January 12th 2015


16789 Comments


oh my god that album art

Digging: Kutiman - Space Cassava

Friday13th
January 12th 2015


3865 Comments


I think their first two albums have better artwork too. They're done by Rodney Matthews...he's kind of like
Roger Dean's spiritual successor but a bit darker.

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
January 12th 2015


6711 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

The album art is good yet it could be less photoshop-esque, but mind you, the band had been running for 27 years solely on its own resources.

SharkTooth
January 12th 2015


9270 Comments


The artwork looks like some some watered down classical metal compilation disc you'd find at a local Walmart.

Digging: George Thorogood and the Destroyers - George Thorogood and the Destroyers

spookynewghostfriend
January 12th 2015


851 Comments


^



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2014 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy