Venture – The Prisoner
“Venture“ a veteran rock act hailing from a state most southern in US; Dallas, Texas. I have the very fortunate opportunity to review 2 of the albums from their long discography. I must say, I am excited to hear the newest which I’ll be writing about for my next review!
“The Prisoner”, released September 12th, 2007, is a beautifully hand-crafted piece of music. Produced with Justin Thomas (Faktion), Brett Hestla (Creed, Dark New Day), and
Beau Hill (Ratt, Warrant, Winger, Alice Cooper, Bob Dylon). This album has laid solid ground work for a band that is going places, and quickly.
Blake Self’s great vocals feature both inspiring lyrics and sing-along choruses. There are a few notes that seem a bit pitchy, once he goes into the higher end of his vocal range. None-the-less, a solid and consistent performance throughout every song on the album.
Blake’s guitar work along with Vin Abadie (guitars) are a fantastic, yet dynamic, blend of octave/harmony leads, grudge/thrasher riffs, and soft/clean instrumentals. Now, I’m not sure how much emurg’s reader know of guitar amps… But in the 90′s, Mesa Boogie came out with the ‘Triple Rectifier’. A guitar head that is so perfectly complete. By accompanying the old school tubes with new age technology it creates that warm, rich guitar tone. Now, may I point out, that tubes only kick in at a specific volume level after they are warmed up. Basically, to simplify my analogy… The guitar tone on this album must have just ripped the faces off of the listeners at the studio. A rich tone, both on distortion and clean. Yet, a very different sound from what you would normally hear. The only thing that could make it just that much better, is if acoustic guitar tracks were incorporated into the slower, melodic, clean parts of a few songs.
Rob Stankiewicz. All that can be said of him is “amazing drummer”. He does not miss a single beat on this album! His transitions are seemless, drum fills are well-incorporated, and he’s doing everything a drummer should be doing, hitting sh*t. Let’s face it, if you’re going to give up the chicks and glory of being a frontman, at least you’re still standing out.
Chris Gentry on bass is a bit low in the mix at times. But when his riffs are dominant, he is accentuating every guitar note and, more importantly, making sure to tie into that kick drum.
“The Prisoner” kicks off the album at Track 1, and we can all see why. It jump starts the album into overdrive, leaving you wanting more. Anticipating for that next song to come on. As for it being the main single from the album… There are plenty more! Maybe “Venture” is just too studio-hungry to really work the singles on this debut album to its fullest?
Track 8 “Hold You Down” is a great song to really diversify this album. It starts of with that warm, rich, clean guitar. Very Weezer-esque (Say It Ain’t So). This song, had me singing along with it, even after it was no longer playing. Love the chorus. The tragic reality of how cruel the world can really be. That people will only bring you down, if you let them.
Finishing the album, is Track 12 “Push”. The classic guy/girl heartbreak song. Alas, sadly but surely, breakups always make the best rock songs. Great theme and story to the lyrics. Love the tone in the vocals, emotional and meaningful. The simple bridge is introduced by a totally wicked guitar solo. This track wraps up the album with a “…sense of what (we) should know”.
Great first debut guys!
Favourite Tracks: “The Prisoner”, ”Hold You Down”, “Push”
Blake Self- Lead Vocals/ Guitar
Vin Abadie- Lead Guitar
Rob Stankiewicz- Drums