Venrez - American Illusion

Venrez American Illusion cover
Venrez
American Illusion
Monarch Music Group
2013
5
Venrez describe their music as “In your face, sexy, current alt rock”
 
I would identify the album as a clash between Alterbridge, Alice in Chains and Monster Magnet with an, at times, Ozzy influenced vocal rage. Comprised of singer Ven, guitarists Jason Womack (formerly of Juliette Lewis and the Licks) and Alex Kane (formerly of Life Sex and Death [LSD] and Marky Ramone’s Blitzkrieg) bassist Michael Bradford and drummer Ed Davis (formerly of Juliette Lewis and the Licks), Venrez is kind of a super-group which really isn’t a super-group.
 
The album’s press release states that it features “The raw and rocking sound” which takes the listener “back to a time before ProTools and American Idol”. “In other words”… it continues, “it’s the sound of a real rock band, all in the studio together, letting it rip in unison”. I’ve said it once, I’ll say it a million times: Just because you record your album like a “real rock band” (whatever that means), it doesn’t mean that you are a real rock band. Venrez hold around half a century of collective live music playing experience, therefore I should think that playing all together must come easy to them. But the sound is only half of the equation; the musical compositions must also be up to par.
 
Even though “American Illusion” is packed with relatively rocking riffs and pretty decent hooks, personally I did find it to be lacking originality. All the tracks are fine, but never go beyond that. To be more exact, each of the songs in the record is highly predictable. I also found the lyrics a bit generic and/or uninspired. Let me give you the first two lines from the choruses of the first two songs as examples: “Won’t play by your rules/Got better things to do” and “Stop putting our hopes and dreams on sale/To the highest bitter the holy grail”. See what I mean?
 
An interesting moment is, the Sonny & Cher cover, “The Beat Goes On”. But, unfortunately, it remains interesting for about a minute, after that it runs out of steam leaving the listener wondering what the hell Venrez were thinking including it.
 
I will not go into any more details about “American Illusion” simply because I don’t think it’s worth it. It’s just like every other mediocre record out there. So, I guess that if you are planning a road trip, or something like that, and you want something to be playing in the background this album will do just fine, but I wouldn’t suggest it for anything other than that.