Venom Inc. Live At Saint Vitus, Brooklyn NY 6-1-2016
By Ian Jane and Horace Cordier
Venom Inc., are Venom. At least in a sense. Tony â€˜Abaddonâ€™ Bray and Jeff â€˜Mantasâ€™ Dunn may not plays drums and guitars with Conrad â€˜Cronosâ€™ Lant anymore, but it almost doesnâ€™t matter because these days, theyâ€™ve got Tony â€˜The Demolition Manâ€™ Dolan on vocals and bass. While Dolanâ€™s work filling in for Venom (not Venom Inc.) in the late eighties and early nineties isnâ€™t as well known as the earlier stuff (thanks in no small part to the fact that most of it has been out of print for years), the guy knows the material and he fits in perfectly.
And so we have Venom Inc., and the trio is now embarking on their second US tour in a year which kicked off earlier this week with two shows at St. Vitus in Brooklyn, NY. We were lucky enough to have the chance to attend the second night and before the show, talk to the band about what theyâ€™ve been up to, how they feel about touring, fan response to having these guys back out on the road again and a whole lot more. The interview was put together at the last minute and recorded on a cell phone that ran out of memory about five minutes too soon, but it is what it is and you can check it out in the video clip below.
The show itself was opened by Metalfier and Sunlord but we werenâ€™t able to catch those sets. We did, however, get the chance to check out Necrophagia, with Killjoy still handling lead vocals and still going strong since the band formed late eighties. And they sounded great, they were a lot of fun â€“ at least a fun as death metal should be. Killjoyâ€™s vocals are nuts and the band heâ€™s got behind him are impressive.
Really, though, with all due respect to each and every one of the opening acts, it was Venom Inc. that was the main draw last night. They took the stage with no real fanfare. There was no backdrop, there was no stage show, really. A quick soundcheck was all that they needed and as the three members literally slipped through the crowd to get to the stage, pretty much everyone in attendance started chanting out in unison â€œVENOMâ€¦. VENOMâ€¦. VENOM!â€ As the opening chords of Welcome To Hell played out through the PA, the place went off, and it pretty much stayed that way for ninety minutes of pure, unadulterated metal!
They really did hit the stage running and while there was some stage banter from the band to the crowd, the intensity level was high from start to finish. But you could see these guys were having a blast. Mantas, reserved and quiet during the interview, was a completely different animal on stage, not playing to the crowd so much as in the crowd, getting as close as he could to the audience and constantly involving them in the show. Not quite hidden behind his kit, Abaddon played like a beast on each and every song in the set while The Demolition Man snarled his way through one classic after the next, paying tribute to the classic Venom sound while still managing to put his own spin on things.
The set list for the show that took place on June 1st is as follows:
Welcome To Hell / Angel Dust / Don't Burn The Witch / Leave Me In Hell / Blackened Are The Priests / Carnivorous / Buried Alive / Raise The Dead / The Seven Gates Of Hell / In Nomine Satanas / Bloodlust / Poison / One Thousand Days In Sodom / Live Like An Angel (Die Like A Devil) / Warhead / Sons Of Satan / Witching Hour / In League With Satan / Die Hard / Black Metal / Countess Bathory
Anyone doubting the legitimacy of these guys to tour under the Venom Inc.name and to play these songs live would have been completely convinced that this is, in fact, a very legitimate version of the band by the time this set had concluded. Given that the distance between where these guys live makes it impossible for them to rehearse on a regular basis, itâ€™s amazing how tight they sound and just as importantly, how much fun the whole show was.
The tour has only just started - scroll down to check out some pictures and video from the set as well as the rest of the tour dates.
I've been listening to VENOM since "Welcome To Hell" was new. I saw them at their infamous Studio 54 gig when Mantas got screwed out of his visa and was subbed by two stand in guitarists in the 80's. SLAYER and EXODUS opened. Paul Baloff was still alive. I consider VENOM as important to my metal loving identity as BLACK SABBATH.
We've got history.
Ian's filled you in on the Cronos situation so I'm going to cut straight to Satan's chase.
THIS is the closest thing to the early VENOM you're gonna get. Mantas and Abbadon have been playing these songs for years and they're tighter than Hell. These guys have an energy level on stage that's INSANE. But I'm going to give some serious props to The Demolition Man. Tony is the goddamn MVP to end MVPs. He sweats his ass off up there. He sounds tremendous. He's got the metal battle roar the legions of iron and steel crave. And he's got the bulldozer bass to back it up. He's the shit. Take it from Heavy Metal Horace.
Highlights? Every damn song. The overlooked "Blackened Are The Priests" from "Prime Evil" raised some surprising hell. Mantas giving a heartfelt thanks to the crowd. Abbadon kicking ass on the massive drum intro to "Warhead". Saucy VD epic "Poison" getting every vein on the Demolition Man's neck popping like champagne corks. Mantas' gentle intro to "Buried Alive" was a rare moment of calm.
Read that setlist and drool. All killer zero filler adds up to one bone crushing full metal assault. The band went at these classics like lions at a fresh kill. Ferocious. You can also sense the friendship and shared history up there on that stage. Seeing these guys in a small club with a rabid crowd singing along to every raging track was a fantastic experience. It may not be cool to say this but screw it. This was the most FUN I've had at a show in ages. And that's the great irony. You won't find a more cathartic, life-affirming experience for people who love this rebellious music than a VENOM INC. show. It's heaven.
This tour is just starting. Don't miss it.
And some video from the 5/31/16 show (that we didn't shoot)!