VENOMOUS MAXIMUS: TOO METAL FOR ROCK, TOO ROCK FOR METAL
In every city, there’s usually a musical diamond in the rough if you look hard enough. Within Houston, TX’s Montrose neighborhood, you can basically find anything you’re looking for, such as high-end yuppy hangouts, drug dealers, hookers, the gay neighborhood, and Houston’s occult metal powerhouse Venomous Maximus. “We’re a part of Montrose man!” says VM’s guitarist/singer Greg Higgins, “Not so much the rainbow part of it.” If you hang around the metal shows long enough, you’re bound to run into these guys in some fashion, either with them jamming out at a show or hanging out. Thankfully I was able to sit and shoot the bull with Higgins recently when Venomous Maximus shared the stage with High on Fire in Houston, just days after sharing a stage with them in Austin during the famed South by Southwest Festival.
Occult heavy metal is the best way to sum up this hidden Houston gem of a band, or possibly even stoner-doom. “Truthfully, we do not even know how to classify ourselves,” says Higgins “It’s not really a big deal to us. Just as long as its, ya know, heavy metal or rock ya know. Too metal for rock, too rock for metal.”
But with a diverse musical make-up, surely it might be difficult for a solid sound to come to fruition, one would think. “I’m not a Nazi with the band, I come up with my stuff, and then our drummer Bongo, he’s in love with ZZ Top and all that good ole’ Texas boogie rock stuff. Christian (Larson, guitarist), he’s in another band here in town that’s more kinda like LA, Motley Crue, Turbonegro, punk-rock… His influence comes in, and then Trevi’s (Biles, bassist) an old schooler, so he brings in that BASS ya know what I mean? But it’s never controlled, everybody lets everybody put stuff in and it kinda just melts together.”
I will say though, it is nice to get to listen to or watch a band that just likes to go up, rock out, and have a good time. “That’s the whole goal man” ponders Higgins. “You can try to be the best at imitating your favorite band or you can just fuck it, and try to make your own. I’ve been in plenty of ‘tribute’ bands where we wrote all our own material, but all we were trying to be is the people we grew up worshipping. This time I really think we got something.”
They do indeed have something unique. In the times that I’ve witnessed this band live, it’s been with a wide range of other bands, including bigger names like Eyehategod, Mastodon, and recently, High on Fire. Venomous Maximus’ latest release, “The Mission” EP (Cutthroat Records), perfectly exhibits the numerous little tidbits that each member of the band brings to the table and the listener can’t help but air guitar in time with the EP.
So with this in mind, I would like to announce that Venomous Maximus is currently hammering out a batch of new tunes in the studio for an upcoming full-length album. “We’ve been doing all this shit without actually having a record.” During the band’s existence, they’ve put out three EPs so far, and it’s about damn time to get a full-length I say. “We had to get enough songs to start playing; as soon as we had 35 minutes, it was straight. So we’re gonna go in and actually record our first record, it’s gonna be called ‘Don’t Touch the Light’. We believe the record that’s gonna be recorded is what Venomous Maximus should sound like.”
My guess is as good as anyone’s as to what the final product will be, but to best sum up Venomous Maximus’ approach, Higgins simply says “We’re not music haters, we’re music lovers.”
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