Venomous Concept started life as a supergroup of sorts between mates Shane Embury of Napalm Death and Brutal Truth’s Kevin Sharp over a shared love of early hardcore punk, grind and a large helping of Poison Idea (after whom the band name was inspired).
Embury and Sharp originally dragged in the help of Melvins leader Buzz Osbourne on guitar and Danny Herrera (Napalm Death) on drums and proceeded to release some splits as well as three solid albums as schedules permitted since 2004. Combining the manic energy and political foresight of the punk that brought them together as well as the frenetic pace of the style of music all are known for, Buzz has long since taken a hiatus and is now replaced by John Cooke (Corrupt Moral Altar, Napalm Death). Are you keeping up? Good.
With such solid foundations for great music already laid this is another album made to bring a smile to your dial. Getting straight to the point ‘Simian Flu’ opens with just the kind of riff distortion the band have perfected with a unique combination of grind and hardcore that assaults the ears without a second thought before changing up and slowing down for the last minute of the track that originally had me thinking it was a completely different track.
Hole in the Ground and Eliminate blast out in quick 1-2 fashion. The aim of the musical game is to keep it simple and fast, something that the combined elements of this group already do so well. The bass riff that opens and drives Lemonade is a rare limelight moment for Embury.
Colossal Failure similarly lets John Cooke throw down a guitar solo, the first that I can really recall ever being on a VC album, adding another ingredient to the mix that is generally an unforgiving battering around the ears. Continuing to pile in the new ingredients both Promise and Septic Mind concentrate more on the hardcore punk end of the musical scale allowing Sharp to show off his less raspy and gravel vocal approach; don’t worry, there is no clean singing to be found here.
As expected, the hardcore rest period comes to an abrupt end when Dementia Degeneration comes kicking and flailing, whipping itself into a frenzy that follow up Carrion cannot keep up with no matter how hard it tries. From here the album settles back into the grind/hardcore hybrid of the band’s unique making. This is until the finale of the title track, a strange thud of electro noise and vocal samples that meanders along with no real purpose or sense of direction. Perhaps pointing at the sometimes-directionless nature of the album’s cover stars?
This band has had a place in my little dark heart since their inception, as I was a fan of the output of both Embury and Sharp already. As such there was maybe I went into it fully armed to accept whatever bone was thrown at me; thankfully, this album is another great entry into the arsenal that Venomous Concept has built behind. Get amongst it.
1. Simian Flu
2. Hole in the Ground
5. Colossal Failure
7. Septic Mind
8. Dementia Degeneration
10. Broken Teeth
12. Mantis Toboggan
13. Politics Versus the Erection