Confession, when I first saw the artwork for “Antivenom” by Audience of Rain, I saw two snakes preparing for battle. It took me longer than I care to admit until I saw just the one snake, jaws agape preparing to attack. (Colour me embarrassed.)
At least I can say it didn’t take me nearly as long as to fall in love with the sound of Audience of Rain.
Hailing from Akron, OH, Audience of Rain is Cody Griffin on vocals, Matt Snider on lead guitar, Paul Fessler on rhythm guitar and backing vocals, Steve Neuge on bass, and Alex Kornas on drums. The 5 piece released their debut album Storm of the Century in 2019 and an absolutely wicked cover of the Backstreet Boys hit “Larger than Life”. In 2021 and 2022, Audience of Rain released the singles, “Discord” featuring Jayden Panesso of Sylar, “Earth/Decay” and “Hell or High Time”.
After going through Audience of Rain’s back catalogue, which I highly recommend, the recently released “Antivenom”, on Affiant Records, shows the band’s growth from their 2019 LP. With “Antivenom”, I hear a tighter band – musically, lyrically, and vocally. It’s as if the boys have found their groove and confidence not only in themselves but within the band.
Of the song, the band says this,
Almost everyone has faced a toxic person or had someone in their life who was just a disease. Antivenom aims to capture the idea that the listener is above people like that, the song compares the toxic person to a snake and how they have a hold on you and are always lurking and waiting to strike. The message being that if you can find your antivenom then people like that can’t have a hold on you, you are the antivenom to people like that and owe them nothing, as long as you’ve got your antivenom you can handle anyone.
“Antivenom” has a wonderful electronic pulse that kicks off the song and it echoes quietly throughout the song as if it is the heartbeat of the track. Whether intentional in that heartbeat feel or not, it is such a smart groove to incorporate into the song as it feels like an anchor to sanity.
There are several artists that come to mind when listening to “Antivenom” and while I know artists don’t like to be compared to others, as author W. H. Davenport Adams wrote in his article Imitators and Plagiarists, “Great poets imitate and improve, whereas small ones steal and spoil.”
While Audience of Rain have not imitated any artist, what they have done is improved on what other artists have done. Unlike the over auto-tuned word ‘werewolf’ in the Motionless in White song of the same name, Audience of Rain uses the same or similar technique for the word ‘antivenom’ but it occurs at a moment in the song that makes the most impact and they improved that technique by utilising it in a way that doesn’t clash with heaviness of the song. It fits so smartly and so beautifully it’s not a distraction to the ear. Then there are Cody’s vocals, towards the end of the song as he sings the line “I am the antivenom”, I hear a wonderfully polished and refined version of M. Shadows.
Cody’s vocals are confident and unrestricted which is needed for the lyrically powerful song but the vocals and lyrics also need support from the band and boy do they bring it.
Can one be heavy and angry on the drums and make it feel delicate at the same time? I don’t feel exhausted for him when I listen to the drums in “Antivenom”. It’s as if he’s Goldilocks and has found the right amount of force to be heavy without having to hammer and pound away on the drums to achieve the sound he needs. His drumming is my favourite part of the song.
But that doesn’t mean the guitars or bass aren’t just as brilliant. Matt and Paul have wonderful guitar riffs that are infectious and catchy. The pair are slick and solid, providing a pathway that allows Steve to slither like a snake stalking its prey. The bass is low, thick, and rumbles with reverberation.
Audience of Rain have raised their own bar and set the stakes high with “Antivenom”. The song is an absolute headbanger from start to finish.
Listen to “Antivenom” below