"Lay down your soul to the gods Rock n' Roll!"
Originally formed in 1979 during the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, Venom is one of the most notable metal bands to emerge from the UK over time (among the legions of notable bands from the UK). In 1982, Venom produced arguably one of the most important metal albums ever to be released as a follow up to 1981's damn near equally as important "Welcome To Hell". That album was "Black Metal". And that album quite literally named the entire sub-genre of metal which is known and loved (and, in some cases, hated) to this very day. They stand readily among other first wave progenitors of the style such as Bathory, Celtic Frost, and Hellhammer.
Today, the godfathers of black metal are still kicking all kinds of ass \m/ They're currently sitting on the cusp of releasing their fourteenth studio album, "From The Very Depths", with a January 27th street date through the monster Spinefarm Records. This will be the follow up to the band's 2011 effort, "Fallen Angels".
Now, it goes without saying that a good bit has changed since the band's inception. Bassist / vocalist Conrad "Cronos" Lant stands as the only original member left. Even with the changes and the notable absence of songwriter / guitarist Jeff "Mantas" Dunn and drummer Anthony "Abaddon" Bray, I still believe the bands spirit is just as intact and badass as ever. Truthfully, with an open mind, the band never really went away. This album just serves as another reminder of why we'll miss them one day. Cronos delivers a solid effort accompanied by guitarist Stuart "La Rage" Dixon and drummer Danny "Dante" Needham (who've been in the band since '07 and '09 respectively). They brought a quality product this time 'round and they know it.
Cronos even stated, "This album is perfect. All three members are totally over-the-top confident with the new songs and the production. We had a great atmosphere in the studio while we were recording. Danté created pure thunder from his drums, while Rage tears the flesh off your face with his riffs, making everything fall into place so well. It's a strong release and really shows the band maturing into an unstoppable force of pure black metal. We can't wait to play the new songs live for the Legions… Hell yeah!"
So how does the album add up with such confidence behind it?
Let's just say that this really is a great album. It's a powerful, furious, fun listen much in the way that you may have experienced the band's previous work – though maybe not quite in same chasm as "Welcome To Hell" and "Black Metal". If you're looking for a solid chunk of metal with which to bang your head, this is it. If you're looking for a modern album to kick up some nostalgia, this is it. If you're looking for a metal legend to crush your eardrums, fucking right, this is it!
Everything about this album is awesome from the music to the production and all the attitude and attention to detail in between. It might not be "perfect" (really, what is?) or even necessarily breaching new ground as Venom had originally done, but it definitely gets the point across. Some of my personal favorite tracks include "Rise", "Stigmata Satanas", and the single "Long Haired Punks". Though all of the tracks are fully worth the listen.
So, there you have it. If you manage a brutish smile when the name Venom lands in between your ears, this album is most likely for you. If your heart turns to a northern darkness when you hear of the black metal, this album is most likely for you.. If you consider yourself to be a metalhead, this album should land right up your alley. Venom are a band with a pedigree to stand by. And after all this time, they're still standing tall.