To begin 2015 I've finally attempted to get words around one of the more outstanding records I've heard in some time, Menace Ruine's 'Venus Armata.' Finding the appropriate thoughts/words for this took not only a strong initial round of listening, but a marked time spent away so as to re-approach with a better lens informed by that first experience. In short, this release encourages my absolute favorite kind of listening. (Let me preface this by making clear it's NOT that I believe this album to require your ears to start working weekends in order to comprehend but that, rather, it brilliantly accomplishes the much rarer feat of remaining incredibly familiar, even nostalgic, yet non-idiomatic thereby allowing the mind to review it more intently.) Menace Ruine cut old circuitry from the path and advance a purer current. This new field open and electric: allows the listener to non-laboriously trace these familiar streams of color and emotion, illuminates their ubiquity in music as a whole, and identifies the absolute uniqueness of their coalescence on Venus Armata. Obvious comparisons abound (black metal, neo-folk, etc.) but the pool seems much more vast speaking volumes of its integrity. The tropes of these styles are beautifully stripped away and we arrive, the core of their content in tact, via richer alternative routing. There's an undeniable weight to these songs forged in songcraft itself. The music of Catherine Ribeiro, Brigitte Fontaine, Desert Shore-era Nico all comes to mind; again, only as a familiar launching point now very much in the distance. A distorted, longing cloudiness embraces the whole of Venus Armata and leads it boldly and isolated across innovative horizons. I look forward to continuing to find new words with future listens. That phenomenon in itself is a testament to its absolute profundity. Menace Ruine's 'Venus Armata' is out now on Profound Lore Records and I highly recommend you hear it.