Houston’s Venomous Maximus have the stoner sound down to a T. They got it perfected and so, they got the blues and the grave notes, but not so grave is not hard rock nor blues. They have the whole stoner thing down so well indeed, they almost sound like a band that belongs in the late 90’s, exactly boxed during that period between Man’s Ruin massive shit delivering of anything remotely downtuned and the time when stonerrock.com was launched. It’s not bad per se, but is miles away from mind-blowing and just a few feet behind being a refreshing surprise.
Liking it is not only a matter of taste, but also a matter of which angle the listener takes. As one appreciates the first cut “The Mission” those well-acquainted with matters of the ilk will hear in the echoed vocals and that one fucking lick that goes up and down and then to the side, time and time again, a template that’s been played to death. It is obvious, we’ve heard it. We just can’t put our finger on it.
There is one distinctive aspect of Venomous Maximus and that’s the voice of Gregg Higgins. Powerful yet not made for singing, his unorthodox, unmelodic and somehow unsettling tone brings to mind the first twenty seconds of any Clutch song. Needless to say, Higgins takes a bit getting used to and that’s also a reflection of Venomous Maximus’ music, as once one goes past the downtrodden and somewhat dated style, there is solace in the comfort of knowing that this could also be qualified as biker rock, and that’s a tag that will never be out of date, because simply, no one gives a shit about such niche and non-descriptive non-existent style. So rock they do, but do not be misled by the dark leaning of the cover artwork, but rock they do. Especially that song “Give Up the Witch”.
Written by Ignacio Brown