AMN Reviews: João Vairinhos – Vénia (2020; Regulator Records)

As short bursts of energy go, João Vairinhos’ Vénia is right up there. Clocking in at 25 minutes across three pieces of roughly equal length, this EP by the Portuguese doom metal drummer is an exploration of cinematic textures that combines ambient, industrial, walled noise, field recordings, and processed electroacoustic elements. Chegaram kicks things off with haunted atmospherics, layered keyboards, and echoing percussion. This unfolds in a loosely-structured fashion, before setting forth an industrial-influenced pattern of drums, keyboards, and guitar drones. Vala Cumum has rapidly sequenced lines to accompany drumming, and heavy guitar riffs before landing in a quietly-menacing ambient space with bassy textures and keyboard soundscapes. The title track wraps up with a pulsing beat that eventually is accompanied by a powerful set of synth chords. This piece is the one that most overtly resembles cuts from a movie soundtrack, setting a powerful and representative tone for the album.