Ventenner - Distorture

Ventenner Distorture cover
Sonic Fire Records
“Distorture” is the sort of record you have to listen to a few times in order to appreciate it properly. Most people consider Ventenner as a substitute of Nine Inch Nails; after this album I have to say that they’re more like a crossover between NIN and Mogwai.
“Rise”, the track which serves as the introduction of the album is dark and ominous. It perfectly sets the mood for the gloomy and at the same time powerful “Six Blood” which follows. I couldn’t help but noticing how Ventenner wink at Nirvana’s “Heart Shaped Box” in this track. Then there is “Wave”, a little too minimal for my taste and a bit long, not one of the album’s strong suites. Things get a lot more lively with “Unaffected”, with its raw malicious guitars and its low middle part break leading to an explosive, almost Tool-like finale which bring us to Distorture. It was surprising to see that the track which shares the album’s name is nothing more than a 2 minute industrial “intermission” leading up to “Skin Ritual”. Even though it’s stripped of any pretentious extras, unlike “Wave”, this track manages to keep the listener pinned with its bleak nihilistic atmosphere without trying too hard.
“Begin Again” is an instrumental piece that resembles the sound of Pelican, This Will Destroy You and Mogwai’s early stuff. Certainly one track to pay attention to. Moving on we find “Metacell”, a clean-cut industrial metal piece, menacing and loud that resembles the sound of Ministry and Marilyn Manson. After that, there’s “Fallout”, which might keep up with the rest of the record (it’s dark and tense, in other words, all the right elements are there), but it somehow fails to add anything extra. All in all, a decent track but not one that stands out. More or less the same can also be said for “Cast” which follows. Just like “Wave”, the minimal approach did not pay off. Personally, I found “Cast” a bit uneventful, I kept craving for it to lead somewhere, to have some sort of… I don’t know… Break… Some sort of explosion… Something. Well, I was disappointed.
Next up are “Undone” and “Shade”, two more tracks where Ventenner moved away from the pure industrial metal vibe. “Undone” is a melancholic tune which somehow manages to be hopeful and just a little cheerful at the same time. I loved that piano melody tremendously and it stayed in my head for hours later. As for “Shade”, Ventenner managed to take the sound of bands like Pelican and Mogwai and put a little of their own dark spin in it. The result is an intense, volatile, melancholic and yet kinda aggressive track that can not go unnoticed. Focus on the excellent guitar solo right before the end. Without a doubt one of the biggest highlights in “Distorture”. Finally, we have “House of Ten”. It seems Ventenner were determined to finish things up with a harshly loud track. Personally, I don’t see this track’s function. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with it, it’s a tight gloomy song, but I find it to be a little bit redundant.
It’s safe to say that “Distorture” is not noise just for the sake of it. The album features some really powerful melodies that Depeche Mode would have been proud to have written. Another big plus is that you never get the feeling that what you’re hearing is just synthesizers making a bunch of ominous sounds, there’s a whole band present behind every song. Despite its few shortcomings, “Distorture” still is a highly interesting album.