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Heavy Venomin 

Metal monsters are ready to rock again after tragedy

Formed in 2005 after guitarist Joe Fortunato, bassist Erin Corcoran, and guitarist Tomasz Scull split from a hardcore group they'd been playing in, Venomin James (myspace.com/venominjames) quickly became a major force on the local metal scene. Their 2007 debut, Left Hand Man, received global attention and comparisons to Black Sabbath and Kyuss. Tragedy then hit when drummer Jared Koston died earlier this year after battling cancer. "Jared was a guy that took you by surprise," says Fortunato. "He was very soft-spoken and genuine, which totally betrays how he plays the drums. We're all feeling the void of not having his sense of humor and the way he made practices and shows so much fun. Watching him go through that painful decline was one of the most difficult and soul-crushing experiences we've been through." The band's new album, Crowe Valley Blues, comes out this week, and Koston's drum tracks, which he recorded when he was in remission, are on the album. It's a huge leap forward for Venomin James; the riffs are heavier this time around, and the jams are more complex. "The sound we are going for is a mix of everything we love and would want to hear as music lovers," says Fortunato. "We are really trying to not beat the riffs to death. We are trying to avoid becoming predictable within a well-worn style of music." Venomin James perform with the Suede Brothers at 8:30 p.m. Saturday at the Maple Grove Bar. Tickets are $5.

Melancholy indie folkies Humble Home (myspace.com/humblehomeband) celebrate the release of their fine new EP, Prologue to Doubt, at 8:30 p.m. Friday at the Grog Shop. Andy Cook & the Waterloons, Authors, Tom Evanchuck, and Rebekah Jean open. Admission is $7 and includes a copy of the EP.

Singer-songwriter Alex Bevan (alexbevan.com) hosts a CD-release party at 8 p.m. Friday at the Beachland Tavern. The concert marks the release of Fly Away, an acoustic record and Bevan's first studio album in three years. The longtime local favorite will also be celebrating his 60th birthday at the show. Tickets are $12, $10 in advance.

Emo-leaning indie rockers the Promise Hero (myspace.com/thepromisehero) just released their new EP, Okay, Cool. Limited to a run of just 250 copies on hand-numbered CDs, the disc features the band's poppy new single, "Fall."

Students from Lakewood's Vance Music Studios (vancemusicstudios.com) host a showcase concert at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Winchester. Tickets are $5.

Rapper Curt Frank (myspace.com/cdotdaboss) throws a release party for his new mixtape at 9 p.m. Friday at the Phantasy Nite Club. Tickets are $5.

Cleveland Heights native and Oberlin grad Neal Smith brings his All-Star Quartet to Nighttown at 7 p.m. Wednesday, October 20. The drummer is the first black man to earn a degree in Jazz Studies from the Music Conservatory of Oberlin. He currently lives in New York. Tickets are $20.

The multi-artist exhibit Who Shot Rock & Roll: A Photographic History, 1955 to the Present opens at the Akron Art Museum on Saturday. But you can get a sneak peek if you show up at the museum's gala costume party at 8 p.m. on Friday. Prizes will be awarded for the best costumes. Curator Gail Buckland will give a lecture at 7 p.m. Tickets to the party are $10, but the lecture is free. Go to akronartmuseum.org for more info.

Send feedback to jniesel@clevescene.com.

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