2013 was a big year for the men of Venomous Maximus. The local metal kings toured with Down, opened for Guns 'N' Roses and played SXSW and Fun Fun Fun Fest. They even signed a deal with Napalm Records, which issued the band's critically acclaimed album Beg Upon the Light in Europe for the first time.
All year, signs have persisted that for the first time in a long time, a Houston metal band was on the verge of breaking big. But to hear the band's howling lead singer, Gregg Higgins, 2013 was just the prelude. In 2014, Venomous will strike camp and begin marching toward global occult-metal jihad.
"This year, we have gone on tour, and there were some big ones," says the tattooed front man. "But we've been busier this year doing everything else with the band besides touring. It's been a lot of writing of music this year."
And not just writing it -- recording it. Higgins estimates that the band's next album is now halfway complete. Getting it out there will be a major milestone for the band: It's their first effort for Napalm since getting signed.
"The last one, we had already recorded and released it ourselves; they just rereleased and repackaged it together with all our old records," Higgins says. "This [new] record is actually going to be their record, the one released under them, for them. So I think they're going to put a lot of momentum behind this one.
"This is our big shot, you know what I mean?" he continues, with all the gravity that realization demands. "This is it, right here."
Yep, for Venomous Maximus, 2014 may well be the moment that separates the men from the boys. Now, they must contend with expectations beyond their own. As the pressure mounts, are they beginning to feel the heat in the studio? Higgins laughs at the suggestion.
"Nah, man, I'm a warrior, man," he says. "This pressure's been here way before anybody cared about the band, you know? There's pressure to get the band together, then the pressure is to make it good. Once it's good, it just never stops.
"I'm the kind of person who loves that," Higgins continues. "I thrive off that. Other people don't like pressure. Pressure, that's the only reason I do wake up: the pressure to produce art, to create."
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Fans will get a preliminary taste of Venomous' new creation tonight at Fitzgerald's, when the band will haunt the club's familiar crevices along with Austin's Eagle Claw and others. Higgins says they'll be unveiling three new songs during the set, so remember to stretch beforehand.
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It will be the band's last show in town before their 2014 campaign begins in earnest. They've got big plans, folks.
"Well, if the world doesn't end, we're going to conquer it," Higgins says, meaning every word. "I mean, I could have thought of something long and drawn out, or even realistic, but nah. We're just gonna take it over."
Venomous Maximus conquers Fitzgerald's anew on Saturday with Eagle Claw and Bowel. Doors open at 8 p.m.
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