Coldrain: Vena

Japansese rockers steady the boat

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Considering that this is their fourth studio album, it seems odd to think that Coldrain are being painted as a new band by many here in the UK.

Sure, they may not have been spotted with much regularity on our shores, but Vena is certainly not the sound of some wet-behind-the-ears pups still trying to find their sound. It’s as confident and fully formed a set of contemporary rock songs as you’ll hear all year.

The title track opens with a sonic kick of sand to the face, and, with its melody-free vocal lines and minute-long running time, is easily the heaviest song here. After that Coldrain’s mix of gruff metalcore riffs and polished hard rock choruses take over, with mixed results.

Divine could give their countrymen Crossfaith a run for their money in the ‘lairy bastard’ stakes and Papa Roach’s Jacoby Shaddix butts heads with vocalist Masata Hayakawa in fine style on Runaway. But fans of the hard and heavy stuff will probably find the gooey Heart Of The Young way too saccharine. That aside, this is an expertly executed set by a band who know they are on the verge of crossing over. And with Vena in their locker they probably will.

Stephen Hill

Since blagging his way onto the Hammer team a decade ago, Stephen has written countless features and reviews for the magazine, usually specialising in punk, hardcore and 90s metal, and still holds out the faint hope of one day getting his beloved U2 into the pages of the mag. He also regularly spouts his opinions on the Metal Hammer Podcast.