Cleveland, Ohio-based metal band VENOMIN JAMES will release its second album, "Crowe Valley Blues", on September 14 via Auburn Records. The self-produced CD, which was issued overseas in July, was recorded at the band's own Supernatural Sound studio in Kirtland, Ohio and includes the four-track "Death's Wings" EP as a bonus.
"Crowe Valley Blues" track listing:
01. Desert Rider
03. Death's Wings
04. Dire Days
05. Make No Mistake
06. Under The Gun
07. Tierra Muerta
08. Penitentiary Glen
"Death's Wings" EP
09. Abu Ghraib (remix)
10. Death's Wings (outtake)
11. Bullet Juice (demo)
12. Downer (demo)
"Crowe Valley Blues" will be distributed in the U.S. by The End, Century Media, Sentinel Steel, Amazon, CD Baby and iTunes.
"The album is the first real VENOMIN JAMES album written as a fully formed band," says guitarist Joe Fortunato.
"The first album, 'Left Hand Man', was almost all written before Jared [Koston, drums] and Jim [Meador, vocals] joined.
"'Crowe Valley Blues' was born from jamming in a room together, road-tested on stage, and captured to tape as pure as possible. VENOMIN JAMES lives in these tracks.
"'Crowe Valley Blues' really is a true statement of the VENOMIN JAMES's sound, and everyone's musical style is present.
"Our big motivation was finding a way to top what we did on 'Left Hand Man' while continuing to develop and push our songwriting and recording skills forward. We also spent a great deal of time trying to capture the power of our live shows on record, while still trying to push the recording into a more polished and cohesive album — basically trying to make 'Crowe Valley Blues' bigger and meaner than 'Left Hand Man' while sounding sonically superior and huge.
"Bottom line: Crowe Valley is a place of old superstitions and paranormal tales, forgotten places and dark forests. We injected the essence of being there into the songs."
The Ripple Music label will release a remixed version of "Left Hand Man" on vinyl (release date to be determined).
Drummer Jared Koston passed away of cancer on June 1, 2010 at his home in Madison, Ohio surrounded by his family and friends. He was 40 years old. Jared left behind a wife and four children. He had no health insurance at the time of his death.
Auburn Records will donate $1 from the sale of each CD to the Jared Koston Memorial Fund.
"Despite the rough economic times, this is something I wanted to do to help Michele (Jared's widow) and her kids," says Auburn Records president Bill Peters.
"The family is still in need of financial support. They incurred a lot of debts during the time of Jared's illness.
"Auburn Records and the international heavy metal community have already donated thousands of dollars to the Kostons.
"I want to continue to help this family any way I can. They will never be forgotten and are forever in our hearts."
Donations can be made as follows:
PayPal donations can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. (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
VENOMIN JAMES will play its first live show since Jared's death on September 9 at the Grog Shop in Cleveland, opening for FU MANCHU. Longtime friend of the band Brandon Abate (LIVING STEREO) will fill in on drums. Drummer Eric Matthews (RED GIANT, PRO-PAIN, THE SPUDMONSTERS, ALTER BOYS) will join as a semi-permanent member for future shows.
Michele and the Koston family have given VENOMIN JAMES their full blessing to continue on without Jared.
"Going on stage for the first time since Jared's death feels strange and empty, but at the same time feels like we're honoring him by keeping it going," says Fortunato.
"Are we doing the right thing by continuing without him?
"Why is there guilt when he made it clear that we needed to keep on going?
"Up until the time he was too sick to really get around, he was actively involved in making music with us. In the hospital bed, he would ask how mixes were shaping up, and how the new material was sounding — his tracks had been recorded when he was still able to play drums. He made us feel like we couldn't give up on this dream...which was his dream.
"I personally feel like I am trying to keep his memory alive through the music. Every time we play a song, I pretend he's behind the kit, smiling and laughing. His spirit is in the songs, and his presence is felt in every note and pause. We could not be here without his talent and his drive. This band could not have come this far without his presence in our lives.
"The five of us in VENOMIN JAMES have shared moments, pieces of time, that no other person on Earth will ever know. When we step out on stage, I will remember those moments, and most of all, I will remember my brother behind that kit — he's just back there killing it.
"We will be the best because music lovers need to know how fucking awesome Jared was, and in the songs, still is."
VENOMIN JAMES is:
Jim Meador - Vocals
Joe Fortunato - Guitar
Tomasz Scull - Guitar
Erin Corcoran - Bass