Some bands are born for the stage, and last month, at a grotty, beloved rock pub in London, Scottish black thrash brigade Venomwolf made it clear that they're one of them—even though the whole "band" was really just founding everything-player Duncan McLaren and some helpful pals. I'd been a fan of Venomwolf's since McLaren first got in touch in 2016, but seeing them expertly chainsaw through a crowd of half-pickled punters at a place that I'm admittedly nostalgic about was a welcome breath of rotten air.
This kind of proudly punk-influenced black thrash doesn't ask much of a listener; it's dark enough to scare off the norms, but it still semi-accessible in regards to its inherent catchiness, its primal urgency, and its trope-fueled lyrics; blood, booze, graveyards, storms, and the dogs of war are all dependable topics, the kind of big, broad metal ideas that allow for maximum fist-pumping without getting bogged down in details.
In three short years of existence, Venomwolf has mastered their craft, and in spite of their d-beat obsession, have spat out one of the most satisfyingly metal albums of the year to date with their debut LP, Stormriding Power. Continuing the project's tradition of pumping out truly excellent covers the album also features a bonus track with plenty of bite—their cover of cult NWOBHM faves Jaguar's"Axe Crazy" appears as a CD-only bonus track (which obviously isn't included in our album stream, but I assure you, rips shit).
"Most of the influences on the writing are pretty obvious—Bathory, Venom, Midnight, and Discharge would be some of the main ones, but there was also a lot taken from more straight up metalpunk like Sacrilege and Blüdwülf," McLaren—who recorded and mixed the album himself in true DIY fashion—told Noisey." Some of the more aggressive NWOBHM was also definitely a part of it, hence the Jaguar cover. With that, I thought it'd be fun to take a track well-known for the rapid double kick and mess with it by punking it up with d-beats."
Stormriding Power was mastered by Joel Grind ("He's worked on loads of my favorite records of the last few years, and he understands this style better than most!"), and will be released on CD by Iron Pegasus on March 13, with vinyl to follow.
Listen below, and beware the tyrant's curse!
Kim Kelly is summoning storms on Twitter.