Venator / Angel Blade - split
Dying Victims Productions
Traditional metal / NWOBHM
6 songs (26'57")
Release year: 2020
Reviewed by Alex

Austrian Venator and German Angel Blade team up for a split on Dying Victims label based on the strength of their previous demo & EP material. Each band contributes three tracks and each band is intent on rewinding the clock 35-40 years towards early to mid-80s traditional and NWOBHM metal. Both bands are students of history, but each has its own distinct way of doing so.

Venator are statesman-like, muscly, graceful and moody. Minor hooks and inflections of Paradiser dig in deep and won’t let go, Paradiser is a lead-off hit song of massive proportions. Whereas Paradiser is all drive and dark energy, Creatures of the Sea goes for choppy rhythms, slower and fluctuating tempos, with bass strung as tight as a bowstring on a giant bow. Blind Ambition has just a tad less riff variety, but solos, including Blind Ambition, is another high point of Venator. Combining, interestingly, the feelings of sadness and pride, they fit into the songs organically. Very futuristic and metallic sounding, it feels that production was quite bit a focus for Venator’s studio work. Vocals are a separate story altogether. Johannes Huemer can certainly hit a high note, and he sounds like a young Rob Halford. Towering, energetic, powerful, he can absolutely fill the room and will push Venator to new heights on the upcoming full album they are supposedly working on for the label.

Angel Blade, especially compared to Venator, sound a lot less polished, more youthful and practically naïve. Their snare drum is basically an upside down bucket, and guitars are rather muddy as well. The echoing open and nostalgic longing gallop of Blast from the Past is probably my favorite track of this very much demo quality work. If Johannes Huemer is a man, then the voice of Angel Blade vocalist is that of a young boy, very fitting to the overall sound of the Angel Blade’s side of the split.

If you prefer your NWOBHM as a historic reference, do-it-yourself and unpretentious, choose Angel Blade, but as the next promising entrant into traditional heavy metal Venator dominates.

Killing Songs :
Paradiser, Creatures of the Sea by Venator & Blast from the Past by Angel Blade
Alex quoted 86 & 69 / 100
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