Venomous Concept – Politics Versus the Erection Review

Venomous Concept return with a pissed off chip on their shoulders, albeit with a satirical tongue in cheek mentality, on fourth LP, Politics Versus the Erection. The grizzled supergroup, comprising vocalist Kevin Sharp (Brutal Truth, Lock Up), Napalm Death duo Shane Embury (bass) and Danny Herrera (drums), along with guitarist John Cooke (Corrupt Moral Altar), dropped their super charged debut Retroactive Abortion back in ’04 and have been sporadically active since. Despite my enjoyment of the debut, I haven”t kept close tabs on their subsequent couple of albums, aside from some cursory listens, so I was curious to reacquaint myself. While grindcore and hardcore punk are intrinsically linked, Venomous Concept lean more into the hardcore punk side, peppering this frenetic old school approach with metal crunch and grind abrasion. The combination works a treat and is surprisingly varied and dynamic in execution.

The side project status of the band makes sense, like minded scene veterans coming together and embracing their hardcore punk, metal and grind roots in one slickly performed package. Venomous Concept keep things rather straightforward, blending vicious political commentary and satire, while sounding like they are genuinely enjoying themselves and having a good time. And in a nutshell that’s exactly what Politics Versus the Erection delivers: a good time. “Simian Flu” kicks down the door, offering a burly blast of steel reinforced hardcore punk, setting the high energy tone of the album. From here onward, Venomous Concept blast and rip their way through 13 compact cuts in a perfectly concise and replayable run-time.

Venomous Concept stay true to their trademark stylistic combo and the album doesn’t slip into repetitiveness or monotony. Amped aggression and speed highlight killer cuts like the explosively awesome ‘Eliminate,” gnarled punky groove of “Dementia Degeneration,” and feral grind of “Hole in the Ground” and “Mantis Toboggan.” The songs are generally short, sharp, and to the point, while leaving enough room for ideas to develop and hooks to penetrate. “Promise” features interesting guitar lines and controlled pacing, bolstered by a typically strong vocal from Sharp. Elsewhere, “Septic Mind” is an infectious headbanger, boasting an almost anthemic vibe amidst its mid-paced gait and noisier bursts. Most songs deliver a satisfying punch and infectious hook to latch onto, often swinging between chunky uplifting punk explosions, corrosive grooves, and scathing grind attacks, well exemplified on the super fun and unhinged ride of “Broken Teeth.”

Performance-wise you get what you paid for here. These guys are veterans of their craft, and although the music isn’t particularly complicated, the musicianship is tight and the chemistry evident. Herrera and Embury lock down a rugged rhythmic foundation, built on pillars of speed and groove. And as a long time Brutal Truth admirer, it’s great to hear Sharp sounding so invigorated and vital. His vocals have changed over the years and aged like a fine wine. What he perhaps doesn’t often get credit for across his lengthy career in the extreme metal biz, is his surprising versatility and ability to deliver a strong vocal hook. Sharp’s array of screams, shouts and barks are delivered with trademark character, grit, and rage. And although he has a lower profile than his more esteemed bandmates, Cooke acquits himself very well, ripping through infectious riff after infectious riff in a spiky performance, combining elements of hardcore punk, grind, noise rock and metal into a catchy, discordant assault.

At first I envisioned Politics Versus the Erection to be a fun, knock about punk-grind album, yet multiple listens reveals staying power and addictive writing proving difficult to shake. Venomous Concept have delivered a gritty, energetic, and finely crafted platter, a pissed off yet undeniably fun album in troubled times. Crafted by well accomplished scene vets, mixing just the right amount of anger and tongue-in-cheek humor, Politics Versus the Erection is well worth your time, as is the extremely cool line of merch supporting the album, featuring a fine collection of Trump, dicks, clowns and unicorns.


Rating: 3.5/5.0
DR: 6 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Season of Mist
Websites: venomousconcept.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/OfficialVenomousConcept
Released Worldwide: August 28th, 2020

 

 

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