Venomous Maximus: Firewalker

New-school beards but old-school heavy

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There are now so many young (or youngish) bands declaring their devotion to old-school metal ways of thinking that you wonder where they all were a decade ago when this sort of thing was, dare we say it, unfashionable.

Despite a whiff of contrivance, Venomous Maximus make an exuberant and crusty racket, full of thudding, primitive heavy rock riffs and imbued with melodic menace that indicates a love of Priest, Accept and all the stuff metalheads are supposed to like.

Opener White Rose sounds like something the Scorpions would have written if they’d spent their childhoods sniffing glue and skating, Through The Black tips its hat to Maiden and Dio via a dash of desert rock chugging and October 14th comes dressed in a tie-dyed Sabbath shirt and a beer-stained King Diamond hoodie, knee-length hair a windmilled blur. Only the lacklustre vocals from Gregg Higgins stop this from being a flat-out celebration of vintage gnarliness.