By: TJ FOWLER
Label: Spinefarm Records
Available: January 27th 2015
I would consider Venom one of the most influential bands of the heavy metal genre to have ever existed even though unlike some of their contemporaries like Iron Maiden, Motorhead and Judas Priest they never reached their level of popularity or household name status. This could be partly attributed to the band’s volatile and inter-band problems between the original three members, which ironically seem to be another legacy Venom has left on the more extreme bands of the metal genre. However, despite the issues with personalities within the band, Venom managed to not only influence bands that later became widely successful on an international scene but also single handedly created the black metal sub-genre that has lasted to this day. So to say that Venom is underrated in many ways is an understatement.
Since the band’s first two releases of ‘Welcome to Hell’ and ‘Black Metal’ which single handedly changed the heavy metal landscape, Venom have went through all kinds of personnel changes, conflicts, break ups and quality of music issues. In fact Venom reminds me of the heavy metal version of a daytime soap opera. As a result my personal relationship with Venom has waxed and waned. My last dip into the black pit that Venom dwells in was with ‘Metal Black’, which to me was a disappointment compared to the band’s superior ‘Resurrection’ which came out previously. So at that point, Venom dropped off the map for me.
Now we have, ‘From the Very Depths’ and all I can say is that I am glad that I got the opportunity to review this album!
‘From the Very Depths’ showcases Venom sounding fresh, aggressive and like they have had a fresh poisoned breath of life pumped into their undead and rotted lungs. Now it should be noted with a Venom album you are going to get lyrics that are going to revolve around Satan, the occult and so on. I mean, the band kind of has to…that is what makes Venom…well Venom. But instead of it sounding cliché or old hat, the energy put into the music and vocals themselves make the songs really rock and enjoyable to listen to.
I think what is showcased the most on this album is the viciousness of the guitars and vocals. While Mantas had his own style within Venom when he was around, current guitarist La Rage adds his own brand of horror/satanic/ritualistic inspired riffs that match Cronos’ horror/occult inspired lyrics and demon growls perfectly, that deliver what I think ‘From the Very Depths’ is trying to achieve. To give fans a classic Venom album while also not sounding dated. This is no longer the Medieval styled Venom we knew from the 80’s but more of a new age evil for the new millennium. And I for one am happy to say Venom is back.