Album Review: Venomous Concept – Politics Verses the Erection

Album Review: Venomous Concept – Politic Verses the Erection
Reviewed by Dan Barnes

After four years, Venomous Concept return with another half-hour of caustic, grinding vitriol which seems to perfectly encapsulate the state of the world, circa 2020. The core of the band remain from 2004’s Radioactive Abortion, with the only change being Corrupt Moral Altar’s John Cooke taking up the guitar while Shane moves back to bass duties. With Cooke having been seconded to Napalm Death’s live six-stringer for the past few years, and with Danny Herrera on the drum stool, the album could at times, musically at least, be mistaken for Napalm Death jamming in the studio.

That is in no way a bad thing as, even though the spirit of Napalm Death can be heard across the Politics Verses the Erection, it acts as a way of grounding the album. This is in no way a copy of the main band’s work any more than the Shane Embury/ Lou Koller Blood From the Soul project is. When you have a bass sound as instantly identifiable as Shane’s then it becomes a cross you have to bear; for better of worse, he has become extreme metal’s Stave Harris or Geddy Lee.

Album Review: Venomous Concept - Politics Versus The Erection

In many ways it is the bass that centres this record and drives onward. Holding together the short, sharp, shock tracks like Hole in the Ground, Colossal Failure, Dementia Degeneration and Shadows, while providing the low-end groove to Lemonade, Carrion and Promise. Shane’s partnership with Danny, forged since 1992’s Utopia Banished, means they lock effortlessly into each other’s mindset and, as with the day-job, Danny Herrera’s drumming is fearsomely understated.

Going into Politics Verses the Erection – and given the personnel responsible - there is a level of expectation that does not let you down. I recall seeing Brutal Truth absolutely lay waste to a midday tent in Belgium, but Kevin Sharp’s vocal delivery here is exceptional and wide ranging. There was never any doubt over his ability to delivery the low-end growls and spite, but it is the variation across the record which demonstrates his range. Lemonade’s groove belies a relentless Ministry vibe and I swear there is more than a little of a demented Rob Zombie-style going on during Promise.

It is this level of variation which makes Politics and the Erection to be a collection of thirteen songs which never feels repetitive or predictable. You expect the grind and the nods to their hardcore punks heroes like Black Flag, GBH and, of course Poison Idea, but it is the other influences blended into the mx that makes the album a real joy. There is, perhaps, an inevitability to the final, title, track as gone is the frenetic grind to be replaced by a dirty bass and nihilistic industrial sound which could have been lifted straight off Streetcleaner.

Venomous Concept have set the grindcore bar ridiculously high with Politics Verses the Erection so it will be interesting to see how Napalm Death counter with their new album next month. If seventy-five percent of the grind legends are on this form, then Throes of Joy in the Jaws of Defeatism should be a classic

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