“Cast In Stone” (remaster) by Venom

Artist: Venom
Title: “Cast In Stone” (remaster)
Label: Sanctuary Records
Release Date: 7/18/2006
Genre: Heavy Metal
Rating: 3.5/5

Venom has long been considered one of the key forces behind the beginnings of Black Metal but no matter how many times I hear their music I really don’t understand how this is the case. The band in the early days did use Satanic themes and imagery but sonically were more Punk and early Thrash than anything else. The original release of “Cast In Stone” hit the streets in 1997, and this album was also instrumental in reuniting the original three members of the group. There had been a number of membership rotations over the years and the band was fading more and more from the public eye. Leader/singer/bassist Cronos was on tour with his self-named band and decided to once more give it a try with his Venom colleagues. “Cast In Stone” is a surprisingly strong album and while none of the tracks hold the anthemic nature of the bands “Black Metal” track, there is a solid amount of crunching Metal to absorb on it. “Raised In Hell” and “All Devil’s Eve” thunder by you at fast pace while songs like “Destroyed And Damned” trudge along like something Metallica could have featured on their Black album. Sanctuary Records did a great job on remastering this album as the clean and upfront production made it very easy for me to enjoy the release, and this is from someone who never followed the group. “Flight Of The Hydra” is perhaps my favorite track from the initial release while the quasi-Industrial “Domus Mundi” is my least favorite along with “Judgement Day” since it seemed so cliché. Overall there is a lot of quality playing and some widely varied styles approached on this release which was not often found on the bands earlier material.

I enjoyed being made aware that they had the makings of talented musicians instead of being one-trick ponies. There is a bonus second CD included and this is one loaded disk that all fans should like. It includes re-recorded versions of established Venom classics as well as a bonus live concert set. A full-color photo laden and well-written liner notes are included on the booklet. I enjoyed this as Cronos is discussing the band and the album with Total Rock Radio’s Malcolm Dome. It’s a good read and a truly solid Metal listen. Raise the horns and be scared, Venom delivers with this one.

Bonus CD: “Classics Re-recorded” – Intro, Bloodlust, Die Hard, Acid Queen, Bursting Out, Warhead, Lady Lust, Manitou, Rip Ride, Venom. “Dynamo Festival 1996” Mini Album – 7 Gates Of Hell, Welcome To Hell, In Nomine Satanas, Black Metal, Venom.

Track List:
1. The Evil One
2. Raised In Hell
3. All Devil’s Eve
4. Bleeding
5. Destroyed And Damned
6. Domus Mundi
7. Flight Of The Hydra
8. God’s Forsaken
9. Mortals
10. Infectious
11. King Of Evil
12. You’re All Gonna Die
13. Judgement Day
14. Swarm

Official Web site: http://www.venomslegions.com

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