• Venom – From The Very Depths



    Venom – From The Very Depths
    Released by: Spinefarm Records
    Released on: January 27th, 2015.
    Purchase From Amazon

    Hey! Venom are back. Their first album since 2011’s Fallen Angels and their fourteenth proper studio album since forming way, way back in 1979. So crack open a pint can of room temperature Newcastle Brown Ale (try not to get knocked on your fuckin’ back! Be careful, make sure it’s not a bit too strong for you guys…) and get ready to comb over your bald spot and throw the horns in the air! Cronos is still up front and handling bass chores, with the mysterious ‘La Rage’ on guitar and “Dante" Needham pounding away on the drums.

    The album starts off with Eruptus, a one minute plus track that’s essentially a descent into Hell – you get some weird noises and demonic sounds to set the mood and them BOOM, the album kicks into the title track, From The Very Depths. It’s here that Venom proudly proclaims ‘We’re back… and we sound a lot like Motorhead!’ Which is fine. There's always been a bit of a resemblance there. Venom has been around long enough that they can sound like whoever the fuck they want, but the bass lines here and the vocals, yeah, Lemmy’s influence looms large over not just this track but this entire album. Those Venom trademarks though, they’re here. The title track sings about worshiping Satan from the very depths, so we’re definitely firmly entrenched in classic Venom territory, lyrically speaking.

    That four minute assault on our senses leads nicely into track three, The Death Of Rock N Roll. At 3:14 in length it’s fast, intense and to the point. Cronos wants you to know that he’s all about the death of rock n roll, dropping f-bombs and lighting up the Marshal stacks. It’s actually a pretty great song, again channeling Motorhead a bit but not ripping them off at all – this SOUNDS like Venom in a really good way. This song is actually seriously great.

    Smoke starts off with a bit of guitar noodling, the kind you don’t expect or necessarily want in a Venom song, but once they get that out of their system the band spends five minutes laying down a heavy riff-tastic groove of sorts over which Cronos belts out lyrics about whatever it is that he’s singing about. This almost sounds like Helmet in spots, which is kind of strange for Venom but it works. Sort of. Track five, that’d be Temptation, clocks in at a second shy of four minutes and it’s fast, heavy and… heavy. The intro is just a fast, fairly brutal barrage over which Cronos comes in and sings about primal lust and hedonism and other assorted sin-related stuff. There’s a weird sort of ‘nu-metal’ influence in here that’s hard to ignore but somehow they buck the odds and make this work. I kind of wanted to hate this song but I didn’t.

    Long Haired Punks is kind of like 2015’s answer to the track Metal Punk from 1987’s Calm Before The Storm album. It basically rewrites that song’s themes about being into metal and also being a punk guy and gives it a bit of spit and polish. This is fairly ‘pure’ Venom in that it mixes up their speed/thrash/NWOBHM sound with some punk inspired riffing in pretty effective ways. As a long haired guy who loves his punk rock and loves his metal, in fairly equal doses, it’s almost as if Cronos is singing this song straight to me! But I know I’m not alone, maybe this song speaks to you too. This song is stupid and you won’t be able to get it out of your head because it’s also very, very rad.

    Stigmata Satanas marks the half way point on the album. It’s pretty evil, complete with demonic laughing about two minutes in to its three minute and some odd second running time. Great guitar riffs here, it’s pretty much what you’d want out of a Venom song in 2015 – there’s nothing fancy about it, just evil lyrics over top of some heavy, kinda-sloppy riff-tastic playing. Crucified keeps the blasphemously evil themes going with a song about… being crucified. Venom are kind of beautiful in their simplicity sometimes. But yeah, this is more of the same, really. Venom sounding like Venom. I can dig it.

    Evil Law is a heavy, brooding sort of doomy track about how evil is the law. Again, don’t read too much into this. It’s got a neat sort of High On Fire/Electric Wizard thing going on but obviously, Venom being Venom, it’s way more evil than that. It just might knock kick your balls off. More fun that that? Track ten, that’s called Grinding Teeth. It puts the pedal to the metal and goes full throttle into speed metal/thrash attack territory and it’s appropriately named as it’s probably the most aggressive track on the album. It’s also pretty angry. About what? Only Cronos knows for sure but he does mention that there’s no justice filling out your shit, so maybe that’s what set him off.

    As the album starts winding to a close we get a track called Overture that’s just over a minute’s worth of scary noises and rain sounds and plinking guitars to get you sufficiently creeped out. Something scary is going to happen, but what can it be? Can it be… Mephistopheles? YES! That’s the name of track twelve and it’s certainly an evil little ditty, a track about the devil himself. This is pretty grind/thrash/speed metal in execution and that’s a good thing. Venom do this sort of raucous noise very well, even at this point in the game. Some stop/start/stop/start stuff feels a little out of place but when those guitars start to crunch and that bass/drum combo pounds you in the groin, there’s no stopping it.

    The penultimate track is Wings of The Valkyrie. That probably sounds like a Manowar song to those of you hip enough to be into Manowar but it’s not. It’s a Venom song through and through, with pounding guitar riffs and heavy, heavy drums. No power metal influence here, this is blasting, thrashy noise about dark skies and war cries. And Valkyries, it’s about them too. I’m not really sure what Cronos is going on about here but it’s a pretty cool song nevertheless. The album comes to a close with its fourteenth track, Rise. This puppy clocks in at just short of five minutes and it’s actually a live version of… wait… those crowd noises are fake. This isn’t a live song at all, it’s ANOTHER all new Venom track about holding your head up high and not retreating and being made of flesh and blood and ancient battle cries and being legion and rising.

    Yeah. Sometimes if it ain’t broke you don’t try and fix it. Will this convert the non-believers out there? Nope, no way. But for those of you who have been listening to Venom for years now, the devoted who can accept the silliness inherent in the band’s legacy this is actually a really solid entry in their discography. They don’t break a whole lot of new ground here but why would you want them to? There isn’t as much asinine howling as there is on the older albums, and that’s a shame, but outside of that minor criticism, Cronos and friends have delivered a pretty solid slab of black metal bound to appease those with a taste for the band’s trademark style.



    Wanna check out Grinding Teeth?