Kick Me Silly – VC III
Bigger Bang: Venomous Concept defy the laws of nature on an atom-smashing third record
dB Rating: 8/10
Release Date: January 8th, 2016
Label: Season of Mist
Attempting to translate the unwieldy second law of thermodynamics into conceptual language remotely comprehensible to those outside elite nerd circles, the great German physicist Rudolf Clausius condensed that complex theorem into the following succinct maxim: “The entropy of the universe tends to a maximum.” Which is to say, while, yes, the first law decrees that energy in a given established system cannot be created or destroyed (only transformed), it does not necessarily remain uniformly potent. That depleted but present energy—entropy— according to the Oxford Dictionary of Science, serves as “a measure of disorder.” The higher the entropy, “the greater the disorder.”
So, why, precisely, are we wading into these molecular weeds en route to discussing a crusty slab of grind-punk-metal-punk-grind-grind dubbed Kick Me Silly, festooned with such non-sciencey fodder as “Johnny Cheeseburger,” “Farm Boy,” “Leper Dog” and “Head on a Stick”? Simple: A defining characteristic of enduring extremely extreme bands that don’t go supernova after white-hot debut burns is pure defiance of the second law. Amazing Big Bangers like, say, Reek of Putrefaction, Scream Bloody Gore or Prowler in the Yard expended vast amounts of energy and, yet, where is the entropy in subsequent potent, more-not-less ordered Heartwork, Human or Phantom Limb?
The arc of Venomous Concept—currently ex-Brutal Truthers Kevin Sharp and Dan Lilker doin’ the ol’ careen ‘n’ grind alongside Napalm Death dealers Shane Embury and Danny Herrera— is an excellent illustration. The circa-2004 Sharp-penned bio for then-label Ipecac proudly hypes the band’s debut Retroactive Abortion— minus Lilker, plus the Melvins’ Buzz Osborne— as a “nonstop assault of raw noise, from the Gauze riffing to the brutal abuse of the Discharge beat; the GISM-inspired art to the Poison Idea attitude, we make no apologies… fuck you if you’re asking,” and further quotes Embury: “You want perfection, fuck off!”
Accurate? Sure. Nevertheless, between Abortion and Poisoned Apple (2008), Venomous sharpened their attack and spruced up the production, allowing order to emerge from chaos, and a sick pitch-perfect novelty homage to evolve into its own entity. Now comes Kick Me Silly, an ambitious, expansive, roiling, complete and utter motherfucker of a modern extreme metal record that marries the paradox of post-The Code Is Red… Napalm Death—i.e., controlled aggression that manifests as frenzied abandon—and the ampedup, shiny contemporary Disfear d-beat to the diamond-in-the-riff catchiness of classic Sick of It All. (Fair play, since SOIA borrowed a cup of grind for ’94’s “Insurrection.”) Kick Me Silly is a gang of underground legends in a collective Bruce Lee-esque flow, basically, and it is an exquisitely brutal (if long-delayed) big bang.
You want perfection? Fuck off! Oh, actually, wait, come back! VC is happy to do that…
— Shawn Macomber
Review originally printed in the February 2016 issue.