Sunday, June 22, 2008

Venomin James - Left Hand Man

Left Hand Man is a great example of Black Sabbath-era metal pulled off roughly 30 years after said era. If the sound quality was taken down a few notches, this album would be mistaken for old-school heavy metal/hard rock from the late 70's.

For starters, the sonic quality of the music is terrific; it has a rich, warm, full sound to it, from the subtle yet enveloping presence of the bass to distorted crunch and squeal of the guitars by virtue of analogue recording. The music is so thickly heavy that it's almost tangible. There are two different guitars tones used here: a thick, distorted guitar playing the groovier foundational riffs and a cleaner guitar complimenting the heavier guitar and bass duo with more complex backround noodling. The drums compliment and augment the thick heaviness of the riffs very well, providing a solid backbone for guitars and bass. The drumming here isn't extremely unique or innovative, but it's pulled of superbly in the old-school metal context of the music; plenty of cymbal tinkling and three-hit tom fills pepper the songs, adding a catchy groove element to the music. Also, the guitarists do a great job of taking one riff and varying it just enough to keep it interesting. 'Downer' and 'Bullet Juice' are great examples of this.

The Southern-sounding vocals both stand out from the music and fit in well with it. There are two main styles of voice employed; a low, deep, almost spoken style of voice that showcases the Southern style of singing, and a higher, faster voice that tends to sing more than the first mentioned vocal style. The vocals, like the drums, add elements of groove and catchiness to the music, strengthening the traditional, southern metal vibe.

With Left Hand Man being just shy of 30 minutes, Venomin James waste no time with any filler. From start to finish, the band does a great job of making a well-presented, catchy piece of Southern/heavy metal that goes to show that old-school metal is still kicking. A great album whether you grew up on metal from the 70-80's or just got into the genre.

1 comment:

Eileen said...

Keep up the good work.