Saturday 10 September 2022

ALBUM REVIEW: Venom Inc., "There's Only Black"

By: Richard Maw
Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 23/09/2022
Label: Nuclear Blast

“There's Only Black” CD//DD//LP track listing:
1. How Many Can Die
2. Infinitum
3. Come To Me
4. There's Only Black
5. Tyrant
6. Don't Feed Me Your Lies
7. Man As God
8. Burn Liar Burn
9. Nine
10. Rampant
11. The Dance
12. Inferno
The Review:

Venom Inc. return after a five-year gap following the rather good “Ave” from 2017. A few things have changed since then; Mantas has survived serious heart problems and is now back to match fitness, Abaddon has departed the fold and been replaced by American Jeramie Kling while Tony ‘Demolition Man’ Dolan remains at the helm, as steadfast as ever.
“Ave” was a good album, but there were a few issues; the rather machine like (!) quality of the drums and a few stylistic detours meant that it was strong rather than an out and out classic. This time around, though, the band goes all out. No industrial inflections, no moody aesthetics- unless that mood is anger, of course.
“There's Only Black” is out and out grimy anger- Motorhead on steroids with Marshall stacks fired up to the limit, drums pounded close to breaking point and Dolan’s vocals as vital and gritty as ever. The guitar work is fantastic throughout- the lead breaks in “Infinitum” are testimony to this, the fast and furious riffing of “How Many Can Die” sets the tempo and tone. This sounds like a band playing live, effectively- with a nice natural sound to all the instruments and no fancy production sheen. It’s raw, it’s loud, it’s full of bite.
The heavy hits keep coming; “Come To Me”, the title track- they just steamroll the listener. There is some light and shade to be found; “Tyrant” has guitar work that is Maiden-esque in places and it offers a surprising line in melodic playing that is by no means out of place. Indeed, it is complementary to the other tracks on offer here.
As the record progresses, it’s clear what the band went for: balls out speed and aggression. It works so well because THIS is what we want from Venom Inc. Nobody listens to “Welcome to Hell” for subtlety. No metalhead ever played “Black Metal” or “Prime Evil” expecting pastoral soundscapes. Nope: we want the sound of the gates of hell being opened. We want to feel like we are in league with Satan and are quite prepared to lay down our souls for it.
Over the course of twelve tracks, the record is remorseless in its violence, relentless in its aggression. You can play any track; “Man As God”, “Inferno”, “Rampant…” literally any other track and you know what band this is. It’s a life affirming, gritty, leather encased blast of proper metal. Even “Burn Liar Burn” puts the pedal to the metal after lulling the listener into a false sense of security. By the time “Inferno” closes things out with the bludgeoning power of a bulldozer you’ll have been thoroughly convinced and thoroughly beaten down by the metallic power conjured up here.
Venom Inc. have become what they always were live and what they were often on record previously- they are just that all of the time here. This is highly recommended and it’s hard to imagine how this could be bettered by any version of Venom, past or present.
“There's Only Black” is available HERE 

Band info: facebook