Monday 26 January 2015

Venom - From The Very Depths (Album Review)

Album Type: Full-Length
Date Released: 27/1/2015
Label: Spinefarm Records

‘From The Very Depths’ CD//LP//DD track listing:

01. Eruptus
02. From the Very Depths
03. The Death of Rock 'n Roll
04. Smoke
05. Temptation
06. Long Haired Punks
07. Stigmata Satanas
08. Crucified
09. Evil Law
10. Grinding Teeth
11. Ouverture
12. Mephistopheles
13. Wings of Valkyrie
14. Rise

Venom is:

Cronos | Bass, Vocals
Rage | Guitars
Dante | Drums


Venom are a seminal band. An overused term, but fully merited in this case. They kind of provide a bridge between Motorhead and Slayer, or even Priest and Mayhem. They coined the term “black metal” and made an unholy racket. They played sloppily but with an evil sound that was more important than perfect delivery. Accused by some as being poseurs due to their rather theatrical and schlocky “Satanism”, they were revered by others as nothing less than the anti-christ made metal. Whichever side of the fence you are on, the world of extreme metal would be very different without them. Honestly, I love the album “Welcome to Hell” and I love “Black Metal”, for that matter, too.

I also love the “Metal Black” album of recent times and “Hell” as well. Truthfully, the rather fallow late 80's period doesn't cut it for me, but all in all I am a Venom fan! The early stuff is classic, the later stuff is much better than people credit it for being.

“From The Very Depths” is excellent. It combines a rough and ready approach to the punky metal material while lending it modern heft with production values unthinkable in 1982. The sound effect intro gives way to the title track and straight away I realised this was going to be balls out, thrashing, dirty metal. It doesn't let up. ‘The Death of Rock and Roll’ follows with a catchy hook and rollicking tempo. ‘Smoke’ and ‘Temptation’ are diverse affairs- excellent riffing and good variations of tempo; it's not all Motorhead pace! The material is taut and muscular with Cronos' voice front and centre and in fine form. He's still got it and brings intensity to proceedings that confirm his status.

‘Long Haired Punks’ is an obvious stand out- fast and raw with a GREAT bass sound! It's a throwback to what made me like Venom in the first place- a real sense of rock n roll added to proceedings. ‘Stigmata Satanus’, is dramatic and chugs with a seething intensity.  Crucified’ is weighty and powerful in sound and structure and takes the album over the half way point. The lyrics hark back to early Venom, reinforcing that this latest line-up is the real deal. Mantas and Abaddon may be gone, but the legacy of Venom lives on and is in safe and powerful hands.

‘Evil Law’ opens with sound effects and a surprisingly clean (but still rumbling) bass sound, before dramatically building to a relentlessly marching riff. The vocals, Are they synced backwards? Some sort of evil incantation? I don't know, but it works. There is no let up in the record- the intensity is maintained across the 14 (well if you count the intro!) tracks. .Grinding Teeth’ sounds kind of like how you would expect from that title. Don't listen to this with a headache. Heavy, fast and furious. It has a strong hook too. Great track.

‘Ouverture’ is a rather atmospheric little instrumental of clean and eerie guitar and lovely live sounding drums. ‘Mephistopheles’ follows. Now there is a Venom title if ever there was one! It doesn't disappoint. Noisy as fuck and demonic in delivery... YES!

‘Wings of Valkyrie’ is very metal in both subject matter and the suitably dramatic sounds on offer.  Rise’ is a fitting conclusion to this rip ride of an album with its anthemic themes and delivery. Venom, in recent years, have been an excellent band. They are truly making the best records of their career. This album is one of their best- not just in terms of latter day Venom records either- it is that good. If you have any interest in the early material but have never bothered after “Possessed”- check this out. If you have enjoyed “Metal Black” and other latter day records... you are in for a treat here. Loud, fast and raw. Venom at their best!

Words by: Richard Maw

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