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Exceptionally Straightforward, Yet Exciting - 75%

AnalogKid, September 14th, 2017
Written based on this version: 2016, Digital, Sliptrick Records

Swedish power metal quartet Veonity brought me a big surprise with its debut Gladiator’s Tale, an album that helped freshen up the Swede-power scene despite its many imperfections. Into The Void is hot on its heels, and I was expecting more of the same, with only a small change due to the departure of lead vocalist Markus de Silva. Most places don’t seem to even mention this vocal replacement, as lead guitarist Anders Sköld now also handles most of the singing. The difference is noticeable, but not that striking.

This time around, Veonity has cooked up something of a story album about a single man in a science-fiction future attempting to escape the dystopian society that blah blah, you’ve heard it before – which isn’t to downplay the band’s attempt, because there’s definitely some neat spacey-themed power metal here. I just don’t have the lyrics, and frankly, this still sounds just like Veonity, only with an astronaut on the cover. It does have some cred, however, for no sci-fi power metal adventure could truly be complete without a guest spot from Piet Sielck, who shows up to fill that role on “Awake”, which is also one of the more Iron Savior-esque tracks on the album in its guitar approach. Sielck’s presence is not wasted, and he makes his guest appearance a real treat in this memorable, mid-tempo rocker.

A lot of Veonity’s tunes are very comfortably set within the Swedo-Germanic school of uptempo power metal, and so depending upon one’s fondness for familiar formulas, most of the songs are going to sound either unoriginal and fatiguing or, as in my case, a twist on a subgenre that I can’t get enough of. While some of the tracks on Into The Void aren’t great or possessed of enough original ideas to help them stand out even if you’re as madly in love with the genre as I am (“Until The Day I Die”, “Heart On Fire”), there are some songs here that may well make end-of-year favorites lists.

Aside from the terrific highlight of “Awake”, the core band whips out a speedy, high energy winner in “Solar Storm”, which features an interesting chorus constituted mainly of staggered, drawn-out triplets in the vocal melody. The only drawback to this song is that I think the chorus structure could have made for some truly incredible fills, but because I get a solid solo as well as a scream at the end of the last chorus to end the song, I forgive the band. “Astral Flames” also gets a call out for being a catchy alternative to most of the other power metal burners. However, the biggest change on the album is the two minute track “Insanity”, a swelling vocal interlude with a good, haunting melody which provides an excellent transition and serves as a trampoline from which “Solar Storm” then vaults into the stratosphere.

Anders’ screams are occasional and add a lot of energy when they’re inserted into a track. I do not think the band has suffered much for the lack of a dedicated lead singer (though I did like De Silva), as Sköld pulls double duty admirably, especially considering the sheer amount of fun all of the guitar leads and licks must be to play. However, this album is a bit too much of a rehash of base power metal to exceed Gladiator’s Tale. I don’t think the standouts here are as remarkable as “For The Glory” or “King Of The Sky” from that album, and there’s more redundancy from track to track, especially amongst the faster tunes.

Into The Void has most of the same rough edges as the debut, and it’s arguably less willing to break out of the comfortable zone in which the band writes 90% of its material. However, it does boast a lot of hooky, energizing power metal, and cements Veonity as a consistent, capable power metal act that means to persevere and stick around the scene for a while. I think I can safely recommend this to fans of Iron Savior, old Steel Attack, Dionysus, Orphan Gypsy, and other similar keyboard-light, simply-structured Euro power.

Originally written for Black Wind Metal

From history to infinity. - 93%

hells_unicorn, December 12th, 2016
Written based on this version: 2016, Digital, Sliptrick Records

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.