Live Review: Stormstress

Token Lounge  Detroit, MI

Contact: [email protected]

Web: stormstressband.com

Players: Tanya Venom, guitar, vocals; Tia Mayhem, bass, vocals; Maddie May Scott, drums

Material: Just like a gale force blast Stormstress delivers a hurricane of classic rock and metal-tinged originals, with a pop sensibility. Songs such as “You Can’t Hurt Me Now” and “Paint the Mask” plumb the depths of one’s psyche and soul, with heart wrenching lyrics and epic riffs. “Gold” explores Mediterranean-like modes and textures and “Corpses Don’t Cry” blends seemingly dark subject matter, with indelibly arresting hooks and, even a danceable groove.

Musicianship: There are no holes in the Stormstress lineup. Each member performs, at once, symbiotically and as a soloist. Identical sisters Venom and Mayhem are substantial lead vocalists in their own right. However, their joint harmonies interlock and shift as the songs dictate. Venom embraces a diverse tonal palette of color and sonic ideas that pair melodic convention with trippy experimentation. Mayhem and Scott are the dynamic duo that give and take, with equal measure; reckless abandon and thoughtful precision. The band’s working credo is a classic example of the sum being bigger than its individual parts.

Performance: It was an album release party for their debut Silver Lining and the trio pulled out all the stops. They began with the defiant and declarative “You Can’t Hurt Me Now.” That opened the floodgates to the equally compelling “Internal Divide.” At this point the audience was on its feet. Venom and Mayhem did a nice job keeping the stage flow engaged while taking time to acknowledge the crowd and properly set up stories behind the songs. The sisters dominated the front line, volleying call and response solos, trading vocal parts and just keeping things moving. Scott kept time like a Swiss watch, but could also propel rhythms like a freight train. Two prime examples of the band’s use of dynamics and serious chops came in the form of the soul-stirring ballad “Fall with You” and a cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love.” This back-to-back attack took you on a journey that was culminated by Venom’s phenomenal Jimmy Page-inspired violin bow leads.

Summary: Stormstress is a band that is surely on the rise. They are a power trio built on equal measures––deep lyrically-engaging songs, great hooks, solid musicianship and interesting stage appeal. They are ready to take it to the next rung.