The Obelisk Radio Add of the Week: Venomin James, “Sailor’s Grave”

Posted in Radio on July 24th, 2013 by JJ Koczan

It’s been three years since Cleveland, Ohio, heavy rockers Venomin James released their burly second album, Crowe Valley Blues, a record they supported by playing — among other places — at Germany’s famed Wacken festival in 2011. Just before the release, the band lost drummer Jared Koston to cancer, and late in 2012, Venomin James announced they were parting ways with vocalist Jim Meador as they looked to press on in a new direction. Their new single they released just yesterday, “Sailor’s Grave,” is the first outing with new drummer Eric Matthews and new singer Mike Martini.

The change is clear in the band’s style on the new track. Where Crowe Valley Blues cuts like “Cosmonaut” showed off post-Down Southern metal dude-isms, Meador‘s vocals out front in aggro style, “Sailor’s Grave” is a little less tough-sounding. Tonally, guitarists Joe Fortunato and Tomasz Scull are more rock than metal, and bassist Erin Corcoran is prevalent in the mix, so that the overall effect is still plenty heavy, just not as angry about it. Likewise, although Meador was essentially a melodic singer, Martini‘s vocals take a more soulful approach, sounding early on in “Sailor’s Grave” not unlike Gozu‘s Marc Gaffney in his delivery and yes, winding up throatier as the song hits its apex, but even so not losing sight of where they’ve come from. In short, he’s a different kind of singer.

“Sailor’s Grave” is the first of a couple singles Venomin James have planned for the rest of this year — the next will reportedly be called “33rd Degree” — as they move closer to a full-length with their new lineup. In the meantime, the third LP from the prior incarnation of the band, with Koston and Meador, is due for release by the end of the summer and will be called Unholy Mountain. An instrumental version, which the band says is to honor Koston‘s drumming, will come out concurrent to the album itself. The transition, it seems, isn’t done yet.

Fair enough. There’s plenty that bodes well for the future of Venomin James in “Sailor’s Grove,” and as such, I’m glad to have it included as part of the playlist for The Obelisk Radio. You can check it out there and grab a pay-what-you-want download from the Venomin James Bandcamp. In addition to that, they’ve got a video for the track, which you can dig into below:

Venomin James, “Sailor’s Grave” official video

Venomin James on Thee Facebooks

Venomin James website

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Venomin James Part Ways with Vocalist Jim Meador

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 7th, 2012 by JJ Koczan

Cleveland doomers Venomin James announced today that vocalist Jim Meador is out of the band. In the press release below, they cite a desire for a new direction, and considering they had more or less nailed down their sound before, I can’t help but wonder what that might mean. Could be 2013 has a surprise in store from these guys.

While we speculate, here’s the official word from the band regarding Meador‘s exit:

Cleveland doom metal band Venomin James parts ways with vocalist Jim Meador

Cleveland-based doom rockers Venomin James are parting ways with original vocalist Jim Meador. The band cites a change in vocal direction and Meador’s availability as the reasons, and will continue to record and perform live as an instrumental group until a replacement is found. Venomin James’ third album “Unholy Mountain”, which was completed this fall, will be released Q1 2013 on Auburn Records with Meador’s last vocal contributions, marking the end of his tenure in the band.

“We felt like a new direction was needed”, said Joe Fortunato, guitarist and founding member. “There is no ill-will towards Jim, he’s a natural talent and a genuinely good guy. It’s not an easy thing to make this big of a change after 6 years, but we feel like this is the right thing for Venomin James at this point in time. This decision wasn’t taken lightly”

The band completed their third full length album, “Unholy Mountain”, in the fall of 2012, after more than two years of tracking and mixing. This new release is also the last album to feature the drum tracks of original drummer, Jared Koston, who succumbed to cancer in June 2010.

In the near future, the band plans to continue to play instrumental live shows, after overwhelming positive response to a series of instrumental shows performed throughout 2012. Booking will continue as normal until a new vocalist is named. Writing for their fourth album has been underway since Summer 2012, and the band has been performing the material at recent shows.

Meador plans to continue making music, and will be seeking or forming a new project in the near future.

“The last six years have been a very positive and exciting experience with Venomin James, but sometimes good things must come to an end,” said Jim Meador. “ I treasure the memories, relationships and experiences I have shared with Joe, Tom, Erin, Jared, Bill, and most recently Eric. We created three rocking albums to be very proud of, most recently “Unholy Mountain”. I will be moving on, writing songs and exploring new opportunities. Thank you to everyone, family and friends that have supported myself and Venomin James through the years, I am very grateful. The guys will move on and I wish them success in achieving their goals, I will remain one of their biggest fans.”

Venomin James, founded in 2006, is a doom metal band, known for heavy riffs and intricate musical arrangements in the vein of Black Sabbath and “desert rock” bands like Kyuss and Unida. They have released 2 full length albums, and are currently signed to Auburn Records, owned and operated by legendary college radio DJ, Bill Peters.

To find out more, visit:,,

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The Ripple Effect Releases 5-Year Anniversary Digital Compilation

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 25th, 2012 by JJ Koczan

Kudos to heavyweight supporters of the rock The Ripple Effect. Today they sent out word that in celebration of their five-year anniversary, they’ve released a digital compilation that includes the likes of recent Ripple Music signees Devil to Pay alongside Borracho, Stubb, Hong Faux, Hosoi Bros., Venomin James and many more. Dig the news and the Bandcamp stream below:

The Ripple Effect Unleashes 5 Year Anniversary Free Download Compilation

What started out five years ago as a forum for two music lovers to share their obsession with obscure/little-heard rock music, has grown and evolved into a record label, a top-rated radio show, and one of the world’s premiere sites for discovering new and lost classic music: The Ripple Effect.

To celebrate five years of collective Ripple Madness, Todd Severin (Racer X) and John Rancik (Pope JTE) are unleashing a massive download compilation album, featuring some of the best of the new wave of modern heavy rock bands. And it’s all entirely free!

Best of all, the compilation features many brand new, previously unheard, unreleased tracks by some of the bands leading this charge of the Heavy. In addition, you’ll find tracks from several albums buzzing across the websites and music blogs, and several new and waiting-to-be discovered bands.

To be released on July 22, through Bandcamp, The Ripple Effect unveils, The Ripple Effect Presents: Volume 1- Head Music. In its depths you’ll find such notable bands as Stubb, Ape Machine, Devil to Pay, Miss Lava, Voodoo Johnson, Borracho, and more. 23 tracks in all. All free. Some of the absolute best heavy rock the world has to offer.

To download your free copy, go to the Ripple Effect bandcamp page and get yours today!

And continue to check out The Ripple Effect each day for the latest music discoveries, and the Ripple Music record label for the latest releases from bands like Stone Axe, Mos Generator, Grifter, Trucker Diablo, Poobah, Fen, JPT Scare Band and more.

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Venomin James Launch Kickstarter Campaign to Press Next Album to Vinyl

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 20th, 2012 by JJ Koczan

Cleveland doom rockers Venomin James, who lost drummer Jared Koston to cancer in 2010, are looking to release their third full-length, Unholy Mountain, on vinyl, as well as work out physical a repress of their second offering, Crowe Valley Blues. To aid the process, they’ve asked their rather considerable fanbase to chip in via Kickstarter.

A worthy cause if you dig the band and have the cash to spend. Check out the campaign here, and here’s more info from the band:

We are Venomin James, a doom metal band from Cleveland, Ohio, and we need your help to bring our vinyl dreams to life!

We are nearly finished with the recording of our third album, Unholy Mountain. This Kickstarter campaign will help us raise enough scratch to press vinyl of Unholy Mountain along with our second album, Crowe Valley Blues.

We are a band that truly embraces DIY, but sometimes we need a little help… maybe it’s you!

Find us on Facebook and SoundCloud and check us out for yourself.

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Venomin James Drummer Dies of Cancer; Family Needs Support

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 2nd, 2010 by JJ Koczan

Condolences to the family and friends of Venomin James drummer Jared Koston, who succumbed to cancer yesterday. Blabbermouth has the story:

Venomin James drummer Jared Koston passed away of cancer on Tuesday, June 1 at his home in Madison, Ohio surrounded by his family and friends. He was 40 years old.

“I want to thank everyone that has helped him with this fight,” says Jared‘s wife Michele Koston. “The fight is over and now he does not have to worry about all the pain it has brought him.”

“I will never understand why my soulmate, my best friend, my husband, my lover, and the father of our two great kids is not with me.

“This is so hard to know that when I go to sleep in bed he will not be there.

“He should never have got cancer. He would still be here with me.

“I miss my baby so much.

“This can’t be real.

“I want to wake up from this bad nightmare.”

Michele is in immediate need of financial support to help pay for the home hospice care and funeral arrangements. The Kostons have four children, no health insurance or employment.

PayPal donations can be sent to: (be sure to mark “personal,” then select “gift”). Cash, checks or money orders (payable to Michele Koston) can be sent to:

The Koston Family
3060 Princeton Drive
Madison, Ohio 44057

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