From the diary of a dragonslayer: Darkly Venus Aversa Part 3 – Smirking Revenge. Or: The sweet sound of revenge (including review.)

This one goes out to the international crowd. With some help from my former blog-buddy Donna Quichotte I translated my last entry. Thanks a lot. Hope you enjoy it!

A new entry, a new band, a new continent! Welcome to the third part of the Darkly Venus Aversa series. I’ve noticed that the previous bands are not only from different countries but even from different continents. After Anguished from Finland/Europe and Fedra from Colombia/South America, today we travel to North America, Canada, and dedicate ourselves to the band Smirking Revenge!

Smirking Revenge is a band from Montreal and was founded in 2012, so they are still a relatively young band. However, most musicians have played previously in other bands, for example in the now split-up all-female band Aenygmist that can almost be considered as predecessor band for Smirking Revenge. Currently, the band consists of the four musicians Joannie Gagnon (drums), Marie Claude Gosselin (vocals), Roxane Labonté (guitar & backing vocals) and Gabrielle Bordeleau (bass & backing vocals).

The only previously published release is the band’s EP „Mind Uploading“, which was released in 2014 on their own, then still with the former singer Charlotte Lemieux (2012-2015). The work includes 6 tracks, including an instrumental intro and an instrumental interlude, at a total running length of 20:31 minutes. Reviews from the internet reviewed the publication rather average. To make myself a picture, I bought a digital copy, offered on the bandcamp page for 6 Canadian dollars (converted € 3.90) for downloading. Smirking Revenge play a slightly black-influenced form of death metal, with lyrics that revolve around increasing mechanization/industrialization and its consequences for society.

Tracklist:

  1. Broadcasting Liberty (instrumental intro)
  2. Cattle
  3. Living Organ Bank
  4. Dehumanization (instrumental interlude)
  5. Mind Uploading
  6. Transhuman Utopian World

„Broadcasting Liberty“ is a nice intro made of radio interferences and sound samples, which are accompanied by slow guitar riffs. It ends with a partial quote of the US civil rights activist Mario Savio, where you’ll notice the thematic orientation: „[…] that unless you’re free, the machine will be prevented from working at all”. A very atmospheric beginning before the first song „Cattle“ kicks in. The text is about a dystopian society where people were degenerated into slaves of technology and ends with a call for resistance. The song is carried by sluggish guitars that are accompanied by staccato drums. The music, which underlines the lyrics with a machinelike rhythm, creates a nice interplay. However, the spark does not really leap over, especially because the missing changes in the music towards the end of the song, when its lyrics call for the resistance. The next song „Living Organ Bank“ resembles thematically the film „The Island„, where people are grown as a living „spare parts warehouse“. The text is written from the perspective of one of these „living organ banks“ and is full of social criticism of the system which brought them to this unworthy life. Now the music becomes really pushing, the guitars are faster and more aggressive, with breaks and small interludes that make the song varied without destroying the mood. It follows the interlude „Dehumanization“ which consists of quiet guitar lines and drums. Again and again, a voice whispers the words „Upload your mind“. In this deceptive calm of the next song „Mind Uploading“ abruptly cuts, but not inept. Again a cinematic parallel can be drawn to the lyrics, this time for the film „Surrogates“, but here the personality is completely transferred to a mechanical counterpart. The text can be seen as a criticism of the mentioned transhumanism and names the risk of losing the human element with the body. The music is again a little more slowly, going in some passages is near to Doom before picking up speed again, but more aggressive than „Cattle“ and therefore knows how to impress. The guitar lines are varied and go from Death over Black to Doom. The last song „Trashuman Utopian World“ is a break with the far more technology critical texts, toward the desire to help with technology and to create a world in which technology is serving people. It is spoken by the hope of overcoming various diseases with technology. It ends with the words „Technology helps us move forward“. The song itself is held in midtempo, has more melodic guitar lines than in the previous songs and acts on the whole less aggressive, there are whole passages that are very quiet, even though the drums always fire perk blast beats to the whole. A worth finale.

What can I finally say about „Mind Uploading“? The EP is maybe not last word on the subject, but quite interesting. Criticisms are partly bumpy merging of text and music and that sometimes the song structures are not so interesting and can not compete to the lyrics. „Cattle“ is not the best opener to choose, because it does not create a desire to listen to the better rest of the EP but the other songs know how to please. The EP concept is well conceived and runs through music, lyrics and artwork. The voice of the departing singer Charlotte Lemieux is consistent and not really to criticize, although more vocal diversity would be quite desirable. You get good music for a small price! My personal highlight: „Transhuman Utopian World“

The imagery of the band will not hesitate to bright colors, but acting harmoniously and coherently in the band pictures as well as in the artwork. Especially the promo image in the title combines the individuality and color of the band members well with the gray environment, destroyed by industry and technology, a stylistic device that takes place in most images. They put the human being as diverse and multifaceted individual in contrast to technology.

The previous work at least makes me curious and hopeful regarding what there might be waiting for us. If they continue to develop in the chosen direction, work on sound and song structures, nothing should stand in the way of a bright future. I hope that this entry can make a small contribution to help.

In this sense:

Good hunting!

Smirking Revenge bei facebook

Smirking Revenge bei bandcamp

Smirking Revenge bei twitter

Smirking Revenge bei reverbnation

Smirking Revenge bei Instagram

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