Devil in disguise...
Genre: progressively oriented melodic metal
A lot of bands are slated as progressive metal bands these days, but when you listen to them, they do not really come across that progressive until you have given the release in question enough listens to notice all the details, and then you realize that there are small progressive details all over the album. This is the case of Venturia's "Dawn of a New Era".
First time I heard the album - especially with the groovy opener 'Devil in Disguise' and the following alternative metal track 'Secret Dream', I had a hard time seeing how this release was progressive. I mean, it has melodic sing-along choruses, and the songs are as straightforward as can be.
The album is indeed song-driven, but a closer listen reveals slight departures from conventional song structures, and the groove-driven riff (which definitely rock hard) are accompanied by technically advanced solos and carious keyboard figures. I suppose that the fusion of alternative metal, some of which is almost grunge-related, with technically advanced solos and more aggressive metallic elements (check out the John Schaffer-inspired figures that pop up in 'Devil in Disguise' and 'A New Dawn Rising').
Still, I do not know if this is enough for the metal community to accept Venturia as a progressive metal band.
And who cares anyway?
What matters is that the music on this release is actually quite good. The strength, I think of the album, lies in the groovy riffs (I particularly enjoy the riffage in 'What We're Here For') and the catchiness of the choruses. We are definitely dealing with solid and accessible modern melodic metal, but the slightly progressive details make sure that there are some goodies to challenge the listener. I can imagine that some seasoned prog metal listeners as well as those who like more aggressive and extreme metal will not like this album because of its commercial appeal and its considerable inspiration from alternative metal and alternative rock.
However, if you are in the mood for solid and melodic metal which takes the easily accessible elements from alternative metal and inject it with a sense of appealing melody and the sophistication of progressive metal elements, then Venturia's "Dawn of a New Era" is definitely worth a listen.
Oh, and if you like awesome guitar grooves, then fuck all this genre wankery and buy the album for the sake of the rhythm guitar!