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It's nice to see that Finnish doom brethren SLUGSTAIN have returned, because their 2010 demo really impressed me and since then I watched out for new material. Well, here it is. But there's another band they have brought with them and these are MASTEROID which are also originate from Finland. Each band is represented by two tracks and we start with MASTEROID's 'Corpses Of My Mind'. Well, what can I say: I did not expect such a good song. Their refreshingly unpretentious riff-raunch is somehow technical yet gut-wrenchingly visceral, bluesy yet metallic, sludgy yet classicist. On the one hand, they recall memories of early Spiritual Beggars, while on the other hand, they are able to develop some sort of destructive force with the help of a few sludgy undertones. This song is equally anchored in 1970's heavy rock and 'D.A.M.N.'-era Greemachine (yes, I refer here to the great Japanese band).

Next up will be 'Neo Crusaders' which is considerably more aggressive than the opener. Vocalist Tommi Ojansivu has a lot more to offer than only his raw and bluesy vocal style. Where necessary, he turns into a maniac but it always fits the bill. I personally like especially the second part of this track that combines Hendrix-like guitar solos with some brutal grooves, reminiscent of Germany's extreme rockmongers Union Of Sleep. In addition, the bone-dry production fits perfectly with MASTEROID's brute sound, and it was certainly an advantage to record both tracks live.

Then comes SLUGSTAIN with two new songs. Starting off is 'Living Undead' that continues from where the demo left off. Only the production is creamier, but otherwise there are no significant musical changes. Like a less feisty Entombed or a more damaged version of later Trouble, SLUGSTAIN trundle through several shades of heaviness. In doing this, Olli Onkamo's grim recitative vocal style towers above the riffs like King Kong over New York City. The last track, 'Dream Fever', is just a little gloomier and doomier and it shamelessly reveals the band's liking for Black Sabbath and Pentagram. Once again, SLUGSTAIN demonstrate that you don't have to sound like a bunch of occult sissies if you want to play some crushing doom metal. Thereby they do not accept the stereotypes of that genre and that is always a good thing. 'Venomous' is a good release which offers the opportunity to check out two very promising heavy Finnish bands. Additionally, all four tracks are packed in a glossy digipack that looks very nice. So, if you are interested, please order this MCD directly from one of the bands.