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Venom Inc. Brings Black Metal To Bristol With Suffocation And Nervosa

Photo of Nervosa

Band Photo: Nervosa (?)

As is the case with oh so many metal bands these days, there now exists two incarnations of Venom. There's Venom, led by frontman Chronos and now there's Venom Inc., featuring the other two famous members of the influential trio, Mantas and Abaddon (guitar and drums respectively,) as well as vocalist/bassist Tony "Demolition Man" Dolan, who replaced Chronos in Venom for a period of time in the eighties and nineties. The latter group released their superb debut album, "Ave," last year through Nuclear Blast Records and last week began a headlining run of Europe in support of the record, as part of a stellar lineup which also included death metal legends Suffocation and Brazilian thrash metal favourites, Nervosa.

Opening the bill was a band named Survive. Quite honestly, I don't even know if they played. A few young lads took to the stage and performed the same riff a few times at sporadic moments, then that seemed to be it. Rumour was that the group were using a stand in drummer and so I sincerely hope that things have improved for them. Unfortunately, an important call meant that I wasn't able to see Canadian support act Aeternam, however the rest of the night more than made up for what I'd missed out on.

Sao Paulo trio Nervosa has gone from strength to strength since I saw their first UK show in 2015, sharing stages with thrash legends such as Sepultura, Destruction and Flotsam And Jetsam and now with a second excellent album, "Agony" under their belts. Nervosa's success is owed largely to the ferocity of both their music and their live performances, which were both showcased in style tonight. "Agony" cuts such as the title track, "Hostages" and "Intolerance Means War" fit very well alongside tracks from their debut, "Victim Of Yourself" such as "Death" and set closer, "Into Moshpit." New drummer Luanna Dametto is a superb addition to the lineup, somehow bringing even more intensity to their sound, while the commanding presence of vocalist Fernanda Lira and virtuoso talents of guitarist Prika Amaral all combine to create perhaps the most exciting young thrash band in the world.

Up next was one of the most legendary names in death metal, New York's own, Suffocation. Though sadly no longer performing with fan favourite Frank Mullen on vocals, replacement Ricky Meyers does a great job filling in for him and does justice to songs from the earliest of albums to the latest outburst of sonic punishment, "... Of The Dark Light." Technicality has always been a large part of what makes Suffocation so popular and led by guitarist Terrance Hobbs, the band are as tight as can be. Old favourites like, "Effigy Of The Forgotten," "Thrones Of Blood" and "Pierced From Within" were brought out, as well as more recent staples like "As Grace Descends" and "Abomination Reborn," before wrapping things up with "Infecting The Crypts." While some may be worried about Suffocation performing without Frank, they can rest assured that the brutality is still there.

Finally, we come to the evening's headliners, Venom Inc. Without Abaddon in tow tonight due to family committments, the three nevertheless put on one of hell of a show. New songs from "Ave," sound absolutely flawless, with "Ave Satanas" proving to be a fantastic way to open the show and other songs such as "Metal We Bleed" and "War," also going down a storm. However, all the old favourites were on show tonight, as the band played everything from "Welcome To Hell" to "Black Metal" to "Live Like An Angel (Die Like A Devil.) Demolition Man is a brilliant frontman and is as much Venom as anyone else from the classic lineup and chews through the material like a wolf with a lamb. Venom Inc. are as fierce as they come and fans of the metal pioneers would be ignorant to dismiss them outright, because they are much more than a nostalgia act, they're a fully loaded war machine with plenty of ammunition.

Diamond Oz's avatar

Ollie Hynes has been a writer for Metal Underground.com for four years and has been a metal fan for ten years, going so far as to travel abroad for metal shows.

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