VEONITY
Into The Void

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01. When Humanity Is Gone | 02. Frozen | 03. A New Dimension | 04. Awake | 05. Insanity | 06. Solar Storm | 07. Until the Day I Die | 08. In the Void | 09. Warriors of Time | 10. Astral Flames | 11. Heart on Fire | 12. Winds of Faith

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It warms my heart to see younger bands trying their hand at the European melodic power metal style popularized in the late 1990s and early 2000s, but largely forsaken over the last decade or so. In the interests of clarity, I’m not talking about the strain of Euro power metal featuring layers upon layers of keyboards, weak high-pitched vocals, frilly shirts and tra la la melodies. No, the kind of Euro power metal I love – and that is vastly underrepresented in the marketplace today – is the guitar-driven, stout-riffing, anthemic-chorus kind of stuff that traces its lineage directly to the likes of early Helloween, Attack, Scanner, Iron Savior, Hammerfall, early Nocturnal Rites, early Steel Attack, early Nostradameus, Freternia, Ironware, Morifade, and so on, with nods to early Stratovarius/Sonata Arctica along the way (see the song “Frozen” for some prime Strat worship, but the keyboard quotient in most of the other tracks is far lower).

Veonity is part of a new generation of bands that aims to keep that particular flame burning. The Swedes’ debut album, Gladiator’s Tale, released last year on Spain’s Sliptrick Records quite properly turned some heads and started some buzz. Striking while the iron’s hot, the lads are already back with their second full-length album, entitled Into the Void. A few things have changed this time around. Most notably, rather than using session vocalists like they did on Gladiator’s Tale, Veonity guitarist Anders Skold has taken over the lead vocal duties himself. In all honesty, he does a fantastic job, with his clear, powerful, charismatic voice being sufficiently strong that it makes me wonder why he didn’t handle the lead vocals from the outset. (Probably because playing guitar and singing these songs at the same time may be hellishly difficult, but that’s just a guess.) Also, Veonity have jettisoned the gladiator concept in favor of a dystopian space-themed record about a refugee from the dying Earth who discovers new life and hope in deep space. If you’re thinking “that sounds like the kind of story Iron Savior might write,” well, Veonity apparently had the same idea because no less a luminary than Piet Sielck (the undisputed king of sci-fi themed Euro power metal with balls) appears and contributes guest vocals on one song (Awake, which also features a pounding Iron Savior-approved guitar riff).

What hasn’t changed, however, is Veonity’s commitment to quality songwriting, killer anthems, big swelling singalong choirs, powerful guitars and plenty of speed. Into the Void ticks all the right boxes for aficionados of European melodic power metal. The choir-fueled choruses on nearly every song are addictive, the songs are littered with catchy melodies, fine neoclassical guitar solos appear often, and Veonity aren’t afraid to crank up the double-bass drums on a good many tracks. Opener When Humanity is Gone goes right into Gamma Ray “Beyond the Black Hole”-meets-Sonata-Arctica mode, which is a nice way to kick things off. In addition to being a strong tune with a massive speedy chorus, Solar Storm bears the distinction of lyrics that not-so-subtly namecheck some of Veonity’s biggest influences (Hammerfall, Gamma Ray, Heavenly, Freedom Call). Very clever, guys, and good for you for making the hat tip explicit. It’s always right to give credit to those who paved the way. Pre-release singles In the Void and Warriors Of Time are simply monster hymns that capture the essence of Veonity beautifully, the latter channeling a certain Kai Hansen vibe circa the mighty ‘Somewhere Out in Space’ record, albeit with the big Hammerfall-type choirs. Oh, and just try to listen to the punchy, mid-paced Heart on Fire without singing along to that chorus. I dare you. It’s just not possible. The production job, courtesy of Ronny Milianowicz and Veonity, is very clear and clean, pristine and powerful, with the guitars and vocals out front just like they should be for this kind of music

If there’s a criticism to be leveled at Into the Void, it’s that Veonity have made a very safe melodic power metal record that hews closely to both genre conventions and the band’s influences. I can overlook that shortcoming, however, when everything is executed as superbly as Veonity have done here. This really is an expertly conceived, written and performed European power metal album, so it’s little wonder that some corners of the Internet find Veonity awash in breathless plaudits and ovations. The other potential downside is that at 12 songs and 55 minutes, Into the Void really does feel longer than it needs to be, and perhaps wears out its welcome before the mighty “Winds of Faith” puts an exclamation point on the proceedings. But the fundamental truth remains that Veonity have crafted an exceptional album of happy, uplifting, but still powerful Swedish power metal that is certain to warm the hearts of devotees of the style. Euro power metal album of the year? Quite possibly.
by Kit Ekman for truemetallives.com

Into The Void | Released September 23rd, 2017 on Sliptrick Records

Track Listing:
01. When Humanity Is Gone | 02. Frozen | 03. A New Dimension | 04. Awake | 05. Insanity | 06. Solar Storm | 07. Until the Day I Die | 08. In the Void | 09. Warriors of Time | 10. Astral Flames | 11. Heart on Fire | 12. Winds of Faith

Veonity are:
Anders Sköld – Vocals/Guitar | Samuel Lundström – Guitar | Joel Kollberg – Drums | Kristoffer Lidre – Bass

Band links: Official Website | Facebook | Youtube

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2 reviews for VEONITY
Into The Void

  1. Gintoki (verified owner)

    The era of the late 90s/Early 00s is often labeled as the Golden Age of power metal. However starting from the Mid-00s the scene started to change slowly. Established power metal acts, such as Sonata Arctica or Edguy altered their sound to a more Rock oriented output while at the same time there weren’t many new bands that played the old style.

    In the recent 2-3 years however, there seemed to be a resurgence in the good old European power metal with bands like Twilight Force and Gloryhammer becoming Fan-Favourites immediately after their debuts. Playing the power metal style of the old millennium, they’re also known for adding symphonic elements to their sound. Among the new bands, debuting in the recent years, there is however a band that’s omitting any symphonic elements and going for a straight-edge guitar driven sound. The band I’m talking about is Veonity.

    Their first album “Gladiator’s Tale” was already a stellar debut, but with their sophomore effort “Into the Void” they stepped it up even more. Displayed here is a style that is best described with late 90s Gamma Ray, especially the albums “Somewhere Out in Space” and “Power Plant” and the early CDs of lesser known Swedish band Crystal Eyes. The guitars are the driving force, while the melodic voice of Anders Sköld delivers a strong vocal performance.

    Lyrically speaking is the album a concept album just like the debut. This time it’s about a Space-Odyssey of an individual escaping our dying earth. While lyrics are often considered to be only of supportive role on heavy metal releases and not to be taken seriously, on concept albums like here they add a lot of depth.

    An album is however mainly judged by it’s music and execution and here this album shines brilliantly. The tempo on the songs is held relatively high during most of the songs, only the under 2 minute short spoken interlude “Insanity” is an exception. It’s also the only track that musically-wise doesn’t add much for me. In return ballads, which are often the weak link on power metal albums, are absent on this release. Beside the mentioned interlude, nearly every other track can be called a highlight. My personal favourite has to be the final track “Winds of Faith”. It’s very uncommon, that bands decide to save such a strong song until the end when the listener has already gotten an impression of the record but here it works because the record keeps the quality high until the end. I like it very much if an album ends on a high note like “Armageddon” on Gamma Ray’s “Power Plan” for example. But speaking of “Winds of Faith” it’s one of the fastest songs on the album and features probably the strongest chorus this band has put out so far, and they really know how to deliver strong choruses. The choruses aren’t only thing this band is good at. Just listen to the opening melody of the opening track “When Humanity is Gone”. Lead guitar playing like it was 1999, which brings us also to the solos. While there is no neo-classical shredding, the solos always fit perfectly and are very fast. My favourite solo is probably on “Awake”, which is also one of my favourite 11 tracks on this album. On this track lead singer Anders Sköld shares the stage with power metal veteran Piet Sielck. They alternate singing during the verses and it fits perfectly because their voices are very similar.

    I could go on mentioning every other song but it would blow the frame, so I’ll just mention one more masterpiece, “Astral Flames”. Beside the strong bass lines on this one, what stands out the most is its structure. The song starts with a slow pace and builds up over time and ends in a double bass stampede, and all that in under 5 minutes. The chorus is portrayed differently every time it is played, always being a step faster than the previous time.

    Finally it is to say, that this album is definitely one to be checked by everyone who considers himself a power metal fan. Fans of old Gamma Ray, Freedom Call or Crystal Eyes are sure going to have a blast listening to this. Everyone who disliked the recent “Twilight Force” album for being to symphonic and too guitar-less is surely not going to be disappointed by this one.

    I’m already looking forward for their third opus, wondering if it’s going to be a concept masterpiece again.

    by Gintoki

  2. hells_unicorn (verified owner)

    The prospect of a band doing a complete reinvention is not an enviable task, and it’s a downright shocking one to see unfold in a band on a sophomore effort less than two years after hitting an impressive stride with a stellar debut. For some reason, Veonity found themselves unable to keep their original vocalist’s services on a permanent basis and decided to go back to the drawing board and, in the process, found themselves on what could arguably be the opposite side of the power/speed metal spectrum. To be clear, this isn’t to say that this band has become unrecognizable and that there isn’t a fair bit of familiarity still present in their musical approach, but all of the primary elements in play have seen a substantial revamping, resulting in the all but miraculously superior effort of Into The Void, an album that sees this band put aside the Hammerfall-inspired gladiator and his tale of vengeance for an excursion into the cosmos after the mold of Iron Savior.

    The only constant that has really held over from the last album here is the curious balance between catchy songwriting and virtuoso lead guitar playing that originally gave this band a slight 90s Nocturnal Rites feel, but when merged with the spacier production and more Helloween-oriented songwriting approach, to speak nothing for the heavier degree of keyboard/synthesizer work being employed, it results in something that could best be described as a modernized answer to Iron Savior’s Unification. Helping along this obvious comparison is the man behind said band himself Piet Sielck, who provides his gravely, punchy pipes to the heavy and more mid-paced crusher “Awake”, but the real star of this show proves to be lead guitarist turned lead vocalist Anders Sköld, who’s voice proves to be perfectly suited to this mode of power metal. It has a greater degree of huskiness and smoothness compared to the sharped edged grit of de Silva’s vocals, but it also proves to be a tad bit more adaptive and sees a lot of shooting up to the proverbial stratosphere.

    Taking all of these massive changes into account, surprisingly enough, the formula underneath the new aesthetic finds itself in perfect harmony with the last album. Into The Void is also a very well crafted conceptual tale featuring a singular character defying the odds set before him, though this time the adversary is not a personal one and survival has supplanted the earlier motive of revenge. This is reflected in a style that is, in some ways, even more frenetic and chaotic, though overall proves to be a bit more intricate and original. The obligatory elements of triumph and speed are well represented in such sing-along cruisers as “When Humanity Is Gone” and “Into The Void, almost like intergalactic national anthems set to power metal, and are generally contrasted with even faster and more dramatic numbers like “A New Dimension” and “Winds Of Faith. But if there is one song on here that truly sums up this album as a new classic, it’s the utterly memorable speeder “Solar Storm”, which has all the elements of a reinterpreted 80s German speed metal classic with a slight bit of that AOR character that became typical of many heavy metal bands in the later 80s.

    It’s a rarity that a band utterly kills it on the first attempt, but it is doubly so when a band does it a second time in almost as many years with a completely different approach. It’s not quite to the point where this sounds like a completely different band, but it gets about as close to being so without quite making that leap. Though there generally tends to be a fair degree of overlap between fans of the olden knight’s tales of Hammerfall and the heavy metal infused luster of Running Wild and Grave Digger with that of the post-Helloween Sci-Fi craze embodied in Gamma Ray, Primal Fear and Iron Savior, this album definitely tilts towards the latter category and is best sought out with that aesthetic in mind. But whether one’s poison is for laser cannons and warp drives or for mighty steeds and swords of steel, this is a band that can and has wielded both with a sense of effortlessness befitting a fold of seasoned veterans twice their age.

    by hells_unicorn

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