Southern Germany’s modern metal meets post-hardcore outfit VENUES have honed an exciting sound that fuses lively riffs and screamed vocals with delicious melodies, which they summarise as “diverse, unique and self-contained.”
VENUES first started out back in 2015 when they released a three-track EP Break Down A Venue before debut album Aspire in 2018. But a few line-up changes later saw vocalist Lela Gruber complete the lineup in 2019 after guitarist Constantin saw her give an epic vocal performance at a gig alongside Steel Panther. She joined the band alongside Robin (screamed vocals), Valentin (guitar) and Dennis (drums).
On the sound the band have honed since, Lela tells us: “The typical VENUES sound is a mix between modern metalcore guitars mixed with rather old school hard rock riffs, out-of-this-world drums and catchy melodies. Robin’s shouts make our songs sound rough and wild, while my raspy and smokey clean vocals bring in the deep feelings and the vulnerability, while still sounding energetic and strong. In the end, VENUES is for everyone who’s looking for music to sing, scream, cry, but also dance to.”
We first discovered VENUES when they released recent single Rite of Passage, which was the first track released by the new-look lineup. It opens up with building instrumentals, a big drum roll then a lively smash of guitars and pounding drums. That feeds into driving guitars alongside lively screamed vocals, then stabbing guitars come in to support Lela’s engaging vocals. That ends with drawn-out vocals and quick screams that feed into a huge singalong chorus “Now the silence in my head is getting louder, ‘Cause I’m giving up, now I’m giving up, oh oh, Destroying everything I used to be proud of, Out of, out of control, Take all that you want from me, ‘Cause I’m giving up, now I’m giving up on us.”
The chorus ends with a lively little guitar lick that feeds straight into another heavy verse and pre-chorus supported by heavy chugging guitars, which flows into another delicious chorus. That drops into a more laid-back section with Lela’s vocals supported by instrumentals that gradually pick up pace towards a fun guitar lick that’s joined by powerful screamed vocals. It develops into a guitar solo, which drops into laid-back rendition of the chorus, which builds into a huge final repeat of it.
On the track, Lela told us: “The recording of Rite of Passage was pretty exciting for us since it was the first real songwriting session with the new band line-up. We surely had a great time while recording at Sawdust Records in Halle, Germany. It made us grow stronger together and we learned even more about each other.
“The track contains different vibes, mostly because of the mixed vocals from Robin and I. We also combined some hard rock / metal elements with rather modern metalcore sounds and synths. The lyrics are very personal to one of our band members and are about the relationship to their own father. So it’s nearly impossible to put Rite of Passage in a single genre. One of our new fans told us that it’s a crazy mix between Bury Tomorrow and Amaranthe?!” Check it out for yourself in the video here:
That track has been quickly followed up by Shifting Colors, which was released last Friday (9 April). It opens up with a little keyboard lick, which continues under a huge barrage of screamed vocals and stabbing guitar chords. That gives way to Lela’s powerful vocals “The stories that we write, Fill them with new lines, Never look back over you, Never look back over me too, Those pages can’t stay white, Fill them with our bright colors, With colors so bright.”
A second chorus drops into light guitars and a repeating synth sound, then more laid-back vocals that build up to a huge guitar solo. A cool rolling guitar riff takes over and drops into a final blast of the chorus. Check it out here:
Both these tracks give us a taste for what to expect from VENUES’ upcoming second album, which will be released in August. On the album, Lela tells us: “Our second album Solace will include even more diversity, while staying true to the already known VENUES sound. While Aspire was more like some softer metalcore with pop influences, Solace turned out to be pretty similar in the foundation, but with a rock and metal topping instead of the former pop-vibes. This has also something to do with my pretty scratchy voice, which automatically changes the vibes in our clean vocal parts.”
VENUES music is influenced by a diverse range of influences. Constantin is big into old school metal like Iron Maiden, while Robin is into more modern metal like Landmvrks and Our Hollow, Our Home, and Valentin is big into the likes of Periphery and Gojira. Dennis’ biggest influences are also a little more old school with bands like Breaking Benjamin and Sevendust, while Lela tells us her biggest influences are bands like Sleep Token and Tool.
And when it comes to what inspires them to write music, Lela says: “Especially in the last year our music was a big gamechanger for us. In the middle of a pandemic, where nobody was able to play live or to go to a concert, we were absolutely lucky to get the chance to create new music together. For all of us, our music and the band is what kept us sane during these times.
“In general, we write music to process what’s on our minds. So our songs are based on personal experiences, crises, burned bridges and new chapters, as well as on daily topics and things that simply need to be said. Especially this record was our own personal solace, as it was and still is the light at the end of a tunnel.”
We’ve discovered several exciting German metal bands lately – largely thanks to VENUES’ independent record label Arising Empire. So we also asked Lela for her thoughts on the local scene. She said: “Well, we don’t really have a comparison, but in general I think we are lucky with the scene in our country. When it comes to music and bands from Europe it’s still harder to convince the Germans that it’s actually cool too! But if I compare the situation nowadays with the situation 10-15 years ago, the German scene became so much more tolerant and supportive! Especially bands like Annisokay, Any Given Day or Alazka showed everyone that ‘new’ German bands can become big in the German scene, which makes me pretty happy.”
There’s plenty more to come from VENUES, including the release of new album Solace in August. As Lela says: “In 2021, all we wanted to do was tour and celebrate the release of Solace. Since this pandemic seems to keep us away from stages for the next couple of months, we’ve put the focus on our single releases, music video shootings and on rehearsing and playing the new songs, so that we can blow the audience away as soon as it’s possible again! We’ll try to use this break to make sure we come back way stronger than ever before!
“Even though we have some crazy music videos the songs are very personal and emotional in their core. Hope to see all of you soon again at a live concert.”