Venomous Concept
Poisoned Apple

I hadn’t heard of Venomous Concept before I threw this in, but the atrocious album art gave me the impression it was either going to be very silly, very bad, or both. So you can imagine my surprise when the ragged, chaotic grindcore/punk of opening track “Drop Dead” raped my face with its awesomeness.

It was only then that I flipped the promo over and saw that this was not some random underground punk act – it’s a monster supergroup featuring Shane Embury and Danny Herrera from Napalm Death, and Kevin Sharp and Danny Lilker from Brutal Truth. Poisoned Apple is their second disc (their 2004 debut, Retroactive Abortion, featured Buzz Osbourne from Melvins), and captures the raw ferocity of classic hardcore/punk from the good ol’ days: Black Flag, Systematic Death and Poison Idea (there’s the joke behind the band name – get it?).

It’s just as dangerous, too – the 17 bursts on Poisoned Apple pick your ass up and hurl you into a moshpit full of epileptics all wearing the spike-dildo Lust contraption from Se7en. Insanity level here consistently ranges between 10 and 11, spasming from groovy punk furnace blasts like “Workers Unite,” “Water Cooler” and “A Case of the Mondays” to more grind-influenced, high-impact vomit like “Life” or “Screwball.” What’s most amazing is that Venomous Concept can still craft catchy, replayable and intelligible songs out of such unintelligible fury and energy.

While Poisoned Apple is uniformly thick, corrosive and meaty, the recording quality varies at times. Songs like “P.R.I” (a demolition derby soundtrack if I’ve ever heard one) and the barbarians-on-meth anthem “Artist Friendly” sound decidely lo-fi and muddy, whereas others are brighter and crisper (though not any prettier). Normally, this would be a knock, but given as this is kind of a greatest hits of hardcore, punk and grind, it feels like we’re getting multiple flavors of retro mayhem, and so the inconsistency feels genuine and intentional.

If any of these genres are your thing, you probably have this already. And given that my experience with punk is admittedly quite limited, let me just say that the fact that I enjoyed the hell out of this should give the rest of you non-believers reason to check it out as well.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Jordan Itkowitz
July 11th, 2008

Comments

  1. Commented by: SludgeHammer

    These guys are pretty much a tribute band…

    Venomous = Poison
    Concept = Idea.

    Its not a coincidence.

    Good stuff though.


  2. Commented by: Jobby

    The first album (Retroactive Abortion) left me a bit cold. I loved the idea, but the album itself was … meh.


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