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Venom - "From The Very Depths" (CD)

Venom - "From The Very Depths" CD cover image

"From The Very Depths" track listing:

1. Eruptus
2. From the Very Depths
3. The Death of Rock 'n' Roll
4. Smoke
5. Temptation
6. Long Haired Punks
7. Stigmata Satanas
8. Crucified
9. Evil Law
10. Grinding Teeth
11. Ouverture
12. Mephistopheles
13. Wings of Valkyrie
14. Rise

Reviewed by on January 16, 2015

"Back from hell, Venom continues its 'trve black metal' assault on the world with as much devastation as ever!"

Venom....pioneers of black metal. At some point subsequent to that moment, a Norwegian circus movement inspired by Bathory’s eponymous classic claimed the term, and so spawned the sound of black metal. In 1982, the term “Black Metal” was invented via Venom’s second album title, but was a reference to lyrical content: “Black is the night, metal we fight, power amps set to explode; energy screams magic and dreams...Satan records their first note.” The sound itself was merely punk infused NWoBHM. That first foray was literally the first and last time the term “black metal” was used as it was intended. Thirty three years after that defining moment, Venom still stands as the only “trve black metal band” and with the new album “From the Very Depths,” the material is one of the darkest storms of filthy devastating thrash since Cronos rejoined in 1995.

It’s hard to talk about Venom without mentioning the various machinations over the years: the original with Cronos, Mantas and Abaddon, the first 4 piece after the departure of Mantas with “Calm Before the Storm,” the Tony Dolan era from 1989-1992 with the return of Mantas, the resurrection era from 1996-2000 (with the original lineup) and now the modern era from 2006-present. Throughout them all, there was always a “rebellious and free – take no prisoners” attitude protruding from the music. In 1987, Venom did suffer a “Cold Lake” moment (though Celtic Frost’s actually happened after) on “Calm Before the Storm” in 1987, just before Cronos’ departure…but it wasn’t nearly as intolerable. Only during the Tony Dolan era did the band dare to stray from the common path, one that resulted in a string of the band’s most diverse albums in Venom history: “Prime Evil” (1989), “Temples of Ice” (1991) and “The Waste Lands” (1992). In the modern era, the band continues to strengthen, returning to those filthy punk crusted blackened barrages while capturing slightly more modern, yet requisitely raw, overall production.

With a massive upswing from the last, but equally engaging “Fallen Angels” (2011) - a real throwback to the band’s origins - “From the Very Depths” has both bursting anthems and rhythmic repetitious hymns – both which make for a typical, yet refreshing feel. In fact, if you muddy the production with 1982 technology, thrashers like “The Death of Rock ‘N’ Roll,” “Long Haired Punks” and “Grinding Teeth” would fit in quite well with “Raise the Dead,” “Don’t Burn the Witch,” and “Black Metal.” However, as is typical of this author, the songs that received the most attention were the ultra-repetitive and rhythmically soothing “Smoke” and “Temptation,” two tracks that likely won’t make anyone’s top 10 list. Still, these two might be a little run a bit too long (5:01 and 4:01 respectively) and be too repetitious for most fans’ tastes. If you are a fan of wrestling entertainment, you cannot help but notice that “Smoke” would make for one hell of an entrance theme.

With bands like Venom, it is all about the ability to create memorable tunes – and “From the Very Depths” has more than a fair share to remember. The haunting grunts of Cronos intoning pure evil with “Stigmata….stigmata…..stigmata….stigmata satanas” or “Meph-is-toph-eles” will ring often in the head. He sounds as delightfully scored as ever. Surrounding him again is Rage (John Stuart Dixon) and Dante (Daniel Needham), representing one of the best lineups in the band since the original. Production-wise, the album is much darker and rawer than its predecessor, especially with the drum sound.

Back from hell, Venom continues its “trve black metal” assault on the world with as much devastation as ever. While nothing can ever recapture those days of youth and inexperience – the unlikely formula for the creation of some of metal’s most classic albums – the band continues in the modern era... recapturing the mantle, one where the only competition comes from within. There is only one real black metal band…thy name is Venom. Hail Satanas!

Highs: Venom doing what it does best.... filthy punk infused thrash/metal with chants to Satan.

Lows: Some of the songs run a little long and are overly repetitious.

Bottom line: Venom arises from the very depths, imprinting the world with the one TRVE black metal!

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)