Not that it really matters, but Texans Venomous Maximus seem to have missed the boat somewhat; By rights any band of any worth whatsoever toiling under the ‘occult rock’ banner should be making hay on Century Media or Nuclear Blast by now. But here they are – who are very definitely worth something, of that there is no doubt – putting out album number three to little or no fanfare whatsoever.
But that’s OK – those who need to know, know, and we here at Sentinel Daily are happy to help the band on their way and bring them to wider attention at the same time. No Warning is a quality release – those of you who already know the band will appreciate their steadfastness of single minded intent. And those of you for whom this is the first exposure to VM will surely be immediately ensnared by the melodic riffstorm awaiting you.
Of course Ghost are the most obvious touchpoint for the uninitiated; But VM are for better than the rapidly-tiring spectral Swedes, bringing a healthy dose of NWoBHM-inspired riff mania to their sound which Papa Emeritus and company would turn their noses up at without a doubt.
Return of the Witch is pure, anthemic trad metal that would happily have sat on any British release of the early eighties. Brooding, Satanic undertones bolster the supremely tuneful riffage cooked up by Gregg Higgins and Christian Larson, whilst Higgins’ vocals, set slightly back in the mix, echo the great ‘not particularly great’ vocal tradition of the NWoBHM whilst still packing enough melodic heft and downright tunefulness.
And that is what is so appealing about Venomous Maximus; there’s no artifice here, no sacrificing talent in order to secure a place on the next bandwagon leaving metalville – just four blokes doing what they do to the utmost of their collective ability with incredibly pleasing results.
Opening track Spellbound has an almost new wave air to it, adding massively to the appeal if you’re an eighties rock buff, whilst icy little instrumental bridge II will have Miami Vice fans smiling wanly and hitching up the sleeves of their pastel-shaded jackets. The album’s title track is similarly rooted in that storied era, buzzsaw guitars propelling the song ahead with a radio-friendly leer and a gleam in the eye.
Elsewhere the chugging Blood for Blood has a real gothic edge to it, Higgins’ baleful delivery bringing real edge to the supremely dramatic guitar assault swirling around him. Closing track Sea of Sleep is, of, course, a histrionic-heavy epic, ending the album in spectacular headbanging fashion.
In summary, then, this is a hugely enjoyable album. Others bands in this field may be garnering greater plaudits then Venomous Maximus right now, but none of them have made an album as appealing as No Warning. You’ll love this album, so get out and buy it!
No Warning is out now on Shadow Kingdom Records