Thanks to Loud Loop Press for this awesome review of WHITE MYSTERY Blood & Venom!  

Sometimes small steps are just as effective, if not more so, than big ones. Case in point is Blood & Venom, the latest record from Chicago’s White Mystery. While still steeped in the raw, dirty guitar and animalistic drumming that made last year’sself-titled debut such a success, White Mystery take to honing their sound on Blood & Venom. The result is a much more focused and refined album, but one that still speaks to the heart of classic rock ‘n’ roll.

White Mystery, comprised of siblings Alex and Francis “Scott Key” White, are quickly becoming one of Chicago most recognizable groups both visually and sonically. Walk into one of this city’s many rock clubs on a weekend, and if there’s a fire-headed duo rocking some old school riffs, howling vocals and big, rollicking drums – 99.9% of the time it’s White Mystery.

On Blood & Venom, the band didn’t maneuver too far from their 2010 debut. The riffs are still thunderous but uncooked and the drums are still played with reckless abandonment. However, White Mystery seem to have taken time to flesh out their songs with additional instruments and a few studio flourishes such as harmonica (“Kickin’ My Ball”) and phaser effects (“Smoke”), which really give the songs new life over the “live session” vibe of their last release.

It’s not just the added nuances that work, but the songs themselves are better overall. They are tighter with bigger, bolder vocal hooks that give the music a more accessible appeal. What’s even more impressive is how you can hear the band’s influences seep through the record’s grimy production.

Self-referential album opener, “White Mystery,” opens with a down home blues guitar boogie that would make Keith Richards do a double take, while “Dead Inside” touches on the quick-to-the-punch pop of The Who’s “I Can’t Explain.”

White Mystery really hit their stride in the record’s darker numbers. “Smoke” features Alex snarling “Burnin’ with my witches/ surfin’ on a heat wave/ stab them in the back/ And hide in a black cake” over gut wrenching guitars, and title track “Blood & Venom” slithers sneakily until launching into a grungy chorus.

‘Refined’ and ‘focused’ are not words that one would think to be used to describe the rough guitar-and-drum attack of White Mystery. But Alex and Francis prove on Blood & Venom that a band can still get down and dirty with rock ‘n’ roll without sacrificing the art of songcraft.

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