Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Venom : "From the Very Depths"
One of the band's whose name alone seems to make them legends. They get credited for creating black metal just because one of their albums bears the same name. I remember getting turned off slightly by them upon realizing they only used satanic imagery as a gimmick like Slayer. Finding out Slayer were not satanists was like finding out Santa Claus wasn't real. They are in the hot seat with their new album as it's time for the band to prove themselves. The last album I paid attention to was "Prime Evil" which came out in '89 and that had "Demolition Man" on it rather than Cronos. So Venom really came to an end after "Ressurection". This is more of a Cronos solo album than Venom. The rest of the band is Danny Needham who also bangs the skins for Tony Martin and Guitarist Stuart Dixon from Order of the Black Sun. Of using the Venom name is smarter than calling this Cronos. No one will buy a Cronos shirt , but you better bet they will be buying Venom shirts.
It opens with a much more metal sound than the original band ever had.The effects on Cronos' voice give him the needed command. I always regarded the band to be more punk than metal, in a similar manner Motorhead is more rock than metal. "the Death of Rock n Roll" finds the band back on the straight forward Motorhead. The rock slant takes a more "Black Album" Metallica direction on the groove fixated "Smoke". It has a powerful chug despite being more like post-Pantera metal. That makes this album comes across like "Cross Purposes" Black Sabbath when they started sounding more like the bands that influenced them than themselves. So all the metal hipsters that think they are so "cvlt" for wearing Venom shirts at this point might as well be wearing Volbeat or Machine Head shirts. They come to more of a compromise between past and present on "Temptation" that still is filled with many of todays modern metal cliches.
Needham gets the job done behind the kit. Cronos' bass tone has always ruled and makes it's comeback on "Longhaired Punks" which lives up to it's name. There is a powerful pound to the jarring head bang of "Stigmata Satanas". The main riff feels more like newer Slayer. the simple chanted chorus is effective as the focus falls on Cronos doing what he does best on the verses. "Crucified" sounds like it almost could have been on Motorhead's "Orgasmatron" album until we get to the melodic break before the solo. More Metallica like riffs roar out from "Evil Law". Cronos puts a decent amount of husk into his voice on this one.
The almost power metal chug of "Grinding Teeth" reminds me a little of W.A.S.P's heavier moments. This song shows that Cronos comes from the time of classic metal where songs were written to pack a concise punch, so there are none of the sprawling ten minute drone filled epics we now think of as black metal. The allows the band to pack this album with 12 songs. While they take you back to the late eighties more often than not, it never feels like the band is wearing out their welcome in hell. Much of his is due to Cronos' charisma. The heaviest song on the album "Mephistopholese" has a Ministry like element to it. The classic metal bashing of "Wings of Valkyrie" is pretty memorable.
Well produced this album doesn't touch say "Give Me Your Soul Please" or Triptykon, but Cronos held is own in this solo effort. If you are a Venom fan and want a Venom album this is of course as close as you are going to get and at times might be a bitter pill if you want another "At War with Satan", but if you take this for what it is then its fun, kept me engaged but doubt I need this in my iPod so I'l give it an 8.