Live Review: Venom and Mayhem

Venom and Mayhem

Livestream  Boston, MA

Contact: [email protected]

Web: venomandmayhem.bandcamp.com

Players: Tanya Venom, vocals, acoustic guitar; Tia Mayhem, vocals, congas, shakers

Material: As two-thirds of the Boston-based heavy metal power trio Stormstress, the duo Venom and Mayhem bring that same energy and excitement to an acoustic context. And they know no boundaries when it comes to the depth and scope of their rock backgrounds and focus. They cast a wide net of tunes that includes everything from Eurythmics’ “Sweet Dreams,” The Cranberries’ “Zombie” and The Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby,” to select original compositions.

Musicianship: Identical twins Venom and Mayhem offer plenty in terms of big voices, superb harmonies and seamless interplay. They are a well-honed machine that is able to swiftly shift the tone and timbre from song to song. Venom plays smooth and prominent chords, fully complemented by her wide vocal range and dynamic stage persona. Mayhem, who is also a bassist, has a great rhythmic feel on congas and gives each tune just the right amount of push and groove. Together this act’s greatest strength lies in their ability to harmonize and build intricate vocal parts. There are only two voices, but the way in which they alternate stanzas and so forth comes across rich and full.

Performance: This livestream preceded their birthday by a few days and the sisters celebrated with a collection of “fun facts” on being identical twins. They also did a nice job setting up a number of their original songs. Venom’s “Buried in the Snow” was a minor key piece about letting go of the past. It had an urgent, driving feel. Mayhem’s song, “Calm the Chaos,” featured strong hooks and an uplifting vibe. The latest Stormstress single is a power ballad called “Fall With You,” a stellar vehicle that highlighted Venom’s range and songwriting prowess. The duo has shared the stage in the past with the legendary Cherie Currie. They did a cool version of The Runaways’ “Cherry Bomb” that really brought the house down. Also, the reworked acoustic take on Rob Zombie’s “Dragula” was an unexpected treat.

Summary: Venom and Mayhem are a consummate duo that shines as brightly in an acoustic setting as in an electric one. They know how to effectively sequence covers and originals for a satisfying and entertaining effect. A number of their original songs are lyrically strong and poignantly express multiple layers of darkness and light.