Venomous Concept: Kick Me Silly - VCIII

Grindcore superheroes live up to advance billing

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Not only are Venomous Concept a grind punk supergroup: Venomous Concept are a grind punk super group!

The experience within their ranks is ridiculous, as their lineup features members of Napalm Death, Lock Up and Corrupt Moral Altar. And those are just the present day CVs of the involved; Melvins guitarist Buzz Osborne once slung an axe for ’em and the list of priors of recent acquisition, bassist and sleeve-a-phobe Danny Lilker would fill a book alone (and it has, in the form of Perpetual Conversion, so there). Needless to say, there’s a lot of history contributing to the band’s third album.

The most encouraging aspect of Kick Me Silly – VCIII is now that the idea of having to engage in the act of folding oneself into a variety of travelling death machines for months at a time has been scrapped, both Lilker and vocalist Kevin Sharp (of Brutal Truth fame) are able to bring a more focused plan of attack to the proceedings, one which was far more difficult to achieve when they and previous members were tearing up the road as much as they were.

This can be heard from the moment the starter’s gun is cocked with Rise, a speedy thrasher that combines the cinematic power of layered guitar slashing with a fist-hoisting chorus before Busy With Your Debt takes over for a few seconds of chaos and Anthem’s chunkier mid-pace.

There’s a broader and swirling scope of crusty punk and grind territory covered, and that makes Kick Me Silly a record deserving to be spun repeatedly as you explore bratty Poison Idea and Dayglo Abortions-influenced punk flavours (Human Waste, Fucked In The Czech Republic), a spasmodic Cryptic Slaughter-esque grindcrush (Pretend, Good Times), playful irreverence (Head On A Stick, Johnny Cheeseburger) and even the bluesy doom/sludge that introduces Farm Boy and drives Forever War. Kick Me Silly takes listeners on an expansive exploration of a variety of grind and punk’s subgenres and eras. It’s not a reinvention of the wheel so much as it is ‘grind-life’ as seen through the lens of those who’ve been in the thick of things for a long-ass time.