Everything Old is New Again (and Getting Old)
When the members of the Texas occult metal band, Venomous Maximus, first got together, the three admitted fans of black and grindcore metal decided to jam and just see what happens. The end result is the latest in a growing list of throwback doom rockers, joining bands like The Sword and Turbonegro in perpetuating a classic sound while adding their own touches. With their debut LP, Beg Upon the Light, Venomous Maximus seek to prove that foundations exist for a reason, even at the risk of parodying the genre.
Light begins with a long D-minor keyboard chord (the saddest of all keys, Spinal Tap teaches us) with “Funeral Queen” before jumping appropriately into the gothic “Path of Doom.” Fortunately, vocalist Gregg Higgins’ masculine, hairy-chested delivery fits so perfectly that you can’t help but take Venomous Maximus seriously. His ability to mix in little stabbing screams, as in “Moonchild,” helps bring the album into the modern era. Still, the echo effect on his track screams 1980, and the bulk of album is stuck in — or is trubute to — that era. At other times, Higgins can’t seem to reach the notes he’s aiming for, such as on “Venomous Maximus.”
However, there is enough talent in the musicianship and tightness in the songs to make listeners wonder what else Venomous Maximus might have hidden up their sleeves. “Battle for the Cross” drives its way into a war-weary refrain in a way that’s distinctive and catchy. Requisite acoustic track “Mother’s Milk” manages to fit the rest of the album, and closer “Hell’s Heroes” ties everything up in a nice bow. Whether or not Venomous Maximus are breaking new ground, it’s clear they’re having a good time recreating a tried and true old sound.