It’s been a long while since a trend could be thrown around with such weight as the term ‘occult rock.’ The name started making its way into magazines with the stratospheric rise of Sweden’s Ghost and has since engulfed English Ebay profiteers Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats and America’s Ancient VVisdom amongst many others.
The latest band to gain hype by keyboard Dracula’s are Venomous Maximus hailing from the very er spooky Texas. Formed in 2010, the band have made quite a name for themselves touring with recognised groovers like High on Fire and building an impressive coven of fans worldwide.
Although labelled ‘occult rock,’ the only element of ‘Beg Upon The Light’ that falls into this category is the corny hammer horror lyrics. This is arguably Venomous’s weakest side, providing some unfortunate cringe-worthy moments which surprisingly have been the band’s strongest selling point.
To see this you have to look no further than the mind numbing title ‘Path of Doom.’ Doom should now be a banned word in song titles and hints at a lack of imagination from a band that are, to be fair, still only taking baby steps in to their career.
The band in fact are at there most, well, venomous when unleashing some strong classic metal melodies. Far too heavy for the likes of Ghost, numbers such as ‘Give Up The Witch’ would be better suited to a fan of The Sword with a more punishing type of riff taking the reigns.
The vocals of Gregg Higgins are also pretty damn heavy and not a million miles away from In Solitude’s electrifying Pelle Ahman. Gregg’s low, rumbling vocals give ‘Moonchild’ (the title does ring a bell) in particular, a sorrowful atmosphere that is fairly impressive.
Where the low vocals are full of might, unnecessary screamed parts that run through the opus are plain daft. This style may appeal to the more modern metal fan but all it really achieves is dampening the atmosphere created on the song.
The welcoming amount of variance on ‘Beg Upon The Light’ is far from unnecessary and prevents the album from becoming one long tale from the crypt. Venomous clearly have a wide range of influences and everything from the greats of NWOBHM to modern doomsters like Electric Wizard can be heard in their sound.
This variance is present from the off with a demonic keyboard driven intro ‘Funeral Queen’ which, although expected, does set the right tone for the album. The injection of acoustics and gentle vocals in ‘Father Time’ are another high point and suggest they aren’t a simple cash in group.
Venomous Maximus have created an intriguing album for their debut that is in no way criminal but at the same time never seems completely cohesive. Without the unfortunately unfitting imagery and a more togetherness in general, the band could go on to win everyone over. Right now, it’s likely they’ll pull only those who are hooked on the occult.
Label: Occulture Records
Scribed by: Alex Varley