Czechoslovakian EBM legends, Vanessa, has released a new album, “Ave Agony.” Formed in 1990, it is the band’s fifth full-length release since its formation in 1990. The band’s lyrics are all in Czech, but for fans of EBM, no translation is necessary. The album is not so straightforward as one might expect --complete with surf-guitar, and roadhouse blue licks. The album is eclectic, but harsh, capturing the inventiveness of EBM that’s all but an afterthought for lesser bands. On the album’s 13 tracks, Vanessa trades in noisy, analog EBM, with sinister vocals that are sinister without resorting to heavy vocoding that way most aggrotech bands achieve the same.
The album opens with “Satnova pomsta.” The track is fast and noisy, with a heavily distorted guitar and frenetic drum programming. “Spolkni Dabla” strikes a chord that is much more EBM with orchestrals and a cymbal-heavy drum beat. “Chci zmizet” combines surf guitar and a monkey-grinder organ to erie effect. “Ahoj chcipni” is darker and has old school industrial flourishes. The guitars are heavily processed, and the programming is dynamic and ethereal. The song recalls classic song by Coil and others. “Babylon” is slow and sludgy, opening with a stoner/doom riff, and continued with a heavily meandering oscillating guitar line.
The album has dual virtues of being diverse and familiar. A lot of the guitars add genre-defying elements you might not expect on an EBM album. Even after a long career Vanessa offers a refreshingly fresh interpretation of a genre that is too-often unchallenging or stale here in the States.
Listen: Venessa - Ahoj, Chcpni
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