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Beg Upon The Light
Released: 2012, Occulture Records
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
I’m not sure what is with this trend for super-short opening instrumental tracks. Well actually I do, or I guess, that it’s to introduce what’s coming up, but they increasingly feel isolated from the material they’re supposed to be ushering in.
If nothing else though ‘Funeral Queen’, the snippet opener on Venomous Maximus’ Beg Upon A Light, does what it says on the tin - it literally sounds like the backdrop to a wake, and one that goes on slightly longer than is comfortable. Which I guess wakes never are.
To give you just a smidge of context, Venomous Maximus are a dark heavy metal act from Texas with the kind of intensity that pins you down, like a good piercing stare can. Beg Upon a Light is grooves, it’s riffs, and it also radiates a pervasive darkness. No wonder they need a light in there.
This is doom done good, and if you needed any more convincing then ‘Path Of Doom’ is your port of call. The immense riffing makes it feel as though the instruments must be made of stone, and yet the guitars fall over one another with smooth fluidity. Likewise ‘Dream Again (Hellenbach)’ and ‘Venomous Maximus’ shows how easy it is for Venomous Maximus to carry off seductive grooves without sacrificing any heft.
‘Mother’s Milk’ almost puts teeth on edge with its scraping strings, but it’s actually quite a gentile instrument-heavy piece, which although quieter than the rest speaks to you more loudly in terms of overall impression. The questioning calls of “What is this name carved in my body” at the end of ‘Hell’s Heroes’ sees Beg Upon A Light leave in the same manner that it entered, with an uneasy shiver.
The vocals and lyrics make it sound as though Venomous Maximus are talking directly at you - on ‘Give Up The Witch’ I felt like checking the cupboards to make sure we weren’t harbouring one. Talking of vocals Gregg Higgins’ delivery brings to mind Jerry Only, which may seem like a strange comparison given their different musical dalliances, but they both have that half spoken, half barked approach going on.
Whoever it sounds like, it’s a confident and forceful voice that also unsettles at times - the kind of performance that defines a frontman, making them stand out like a drop of blood in the water. Actually although I mentioned Jerry, Venomous Maximus are more akin to the work of former bandmate Danzig in the sense that both seem to strain towards the dark side and a point only their eyes have adjusted to.
As such, until someone turns up with a torch, I’m afraid you’ll just have to take Venomous Maximus’ hand and plunge into the blackness. It’s really quite nice inside.
Review by Kirsty Birkett-Stubbs
1. Funeral Queen
2. Path Of Doom
3. Give Up The Witch
4. Father Time
5. Dream Again (Hellenbach)
7. Battle For The Cross
8. Venomous Maximus
9. Mothers Milk
10. Hell’s Heroes
Gregg Higgins - Vocals, Guitar
Christian Larson - Guitar
Trevi Biles - Bass
Bongo - Drums
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