Singer Jim Meador really nails the doom that surrounds Venomin James' brand of stoner metal. Meador was an Army sergeant in Iraq, and his intensely personal lyrics amount to one helluva riveting listen. But Meador isn't making political statements on songs like "Abu Ghraib" (where he served). Rather, he's exorcising demons and ghosts he can't quite shake. While Meador rips his lyrics from the headlines, Venomin James' music consistently nods to past giants like Black Sabbath and Kyuss. Left Hand Man, the band's debut, divides into two parts, and the analog sound intensifies the disorienting gloom that prevails. The band's ferocity, clever melodies, and ominous atmosphere could turn Meador's hellish journey into a slice of heaven for local genre fans.
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