Tag Archives: cronos

“Hell” by Venom

Artist: Venom
Title: “Hell”
Label: Sanctuary Records
Release Date: 8/12/2008
Genre: Thrash Metal
Rating: 2.5/5

Despite the claims, I am and always have been one of those Metal fans who never felt that Venom was a Black Metal band as an outfit even though they might have coined the phrase and chose to run with it. Now while I might find their fan base screaming for my head in this “blasphemy” let’s be honest here and look back at how their older material always had more of a Thrash Metal meets gritty Hardcore Punk vibe to it. When you compare this stuff to the likes of bands such as Mayhem, Emperor and those who really walked the dark paths in the name of Metal after their inception then you shall probably agree with me. Still, they managed to remain an influential unit who would inspire the likes of Testament, Slayer and even Metallica based on the material that they were delivering and that is a good thing considering the incredible output these bands delivered during their own careers. Venom returns to us with their latest studio recording entitled simply as “Hell” and this is a follow up to 2006’s “Metal Black”. Since I had rather enjoyed that album I was interested in seeing how the band would do with its successor and therein lies the issue since even after a couple of listens I was not finding myself all that pleased with what I was hearing. It starts off strong with “Straight To Hell” and once again the band continues a solid thrashing as they inform the listener where they are destined to end up. The title track is also rather strong and has an impressive groove to it but when it comes to tracks like “Fall From Grace” I feel that they lose some of the momentum based on how it runs as a tune. To me this seemed more contrived as Cronos yells his main lyric while the drums of Antton slam behind him. What’s weird about it is how it swaps from one format of tune to another and it was not what I expected from Venom. It didn’t end there in the confusion as “Stab U In The Back” and “Kill The Music” sounded like something that was more suitable for Motorhead to be doing. The band redeems for a short time with “Blood Sky” and “Evilution Devilution” but then they deliver the Thrashing Punk themed “USA for Satan” which is downright stupid. Venom now has Rage on guitar who has replaced the talents of Mykvs who left sometime in 2007.
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“Hell To The Unknown” (remaster) by Cronos

Artist: Cronos
Title: Hell To The Unknown: Anthology (remaster)
Label: Sanctuary Records
Release Date: 12-9-2006
Genre: Heavy Metal
Rating: 3.5/5

After fronting Venom for nine years, lead singer/bassist Conrad Lant aka Cronos would leave the band and start his own project simply called “Cronos”. The band would release three albums over their rather short career – “Dancing In The Fire” (1990), “Rock & Roll Disease” (1991) and “Venom” (1995). The first two featured completely new original material from the musician while the third release would find him revisit and re-record some Venom classics with his new band. The other two recordings that preceded this would be Metal, but they would not be the exact same fashion that his core fans might have expected of him. The title Anthology is misleading for while it usually refers to a release that has the best of the artist over the span of their catalog, this one instead features all of the music from the three Cronos recordings. This completeness factor makes the album a must have for any discerning Venom or Cronos fan and all of the tracks have been remastered by Cronos himself.
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Venom @ Irving Plaza (9/5/2006)

Logo - Venom

Artist: Venom
Venue: Irving Plaza (New York, NY)
Opener: Goatwhore, Early Man
Date: 9/5/2006
Label: Sanctuary Records

The first round of tour dates for Venom had been cancelled citing “Immigration Issues”, and given the amount of political hoops to jump through to fix them it seemed that the shows with Devildriver as their opener would simply never take place. Yet it was only a few days after these dramas that the announcement of rescheduling would come and this time the group would perform with both Early Man and Goatwhore. The sigh of relief on this would be felt in the entire Metal community as it had been almost ten years since Venom performed on U.S. soil (this was a mere one off appearance on the Milwaukee Metal Fest) and more than twenty since any headlining appearance or full tour was done over here (1983 if I am not mistaken). The venue of choice would be Irving Plaza and judging by the attendees you could feel the Black Metal in every corner of the room. As I entered I would be surprised to find tickets still available and while it did not seem sold out completely there was an amazing attendance for the bands return. The reasoning for my surprise is because of the age difference in the larger part of the audience and years of Venom’s absence. Many of the folks were from back in the day, but the larger contingent seemed to be as young as when they last headlined here and perhaps even younger. It’s great to see this faction supporting the bands and not wasting time on the crap that is pushed down our throats by the mainstream music industry. In terms of Metal music, the phrase “youth is wasted on the young” does not apply whatsoever.
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“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.
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“Metal Black” by Venom

Artist: Venom
Title: “Metal Black”
Label: Sanctuary Records
Release Date: 4/4/2006
Genre: Black Metal
Rating: 7/10

Venom have been referred to as being the “Fathers Of Black Metal” and this title is based on their releases such as “Black Metal” and “At War With Satan”. When the band was formed in 1982 there was not really anyone playing the kind of music much less about the kind of topics that they were bringing to the table. When you look back and listen to the early albums you will find that the original lineup of Cronos, Mantas and Abbadon (who were all named after demons) delivered a more Thrash Punk than Metal style and their lyrics while very dark could not have been meant to be taken very seriously. Cited by bands like Slayer and many others as the key influence to their own forays into Metal’s Dark side the group gives us “Metal Black”. The Sanctuary Records release finds Venom bringing their sound into 2006 but the only original member on the release would be Cronos with his growling vocals and thundering bass. We last saw Cronos on the Dave Grohl project “Probot” and now joining him would be Mykvs (guitar) and Antton (drums) with both members helping out on backing vocals. Together the group reminds the listener once again of the goings on down below and with “Antechrist” and “Rege Satanus” prove that they will never stray far from this influence for their music. Oddly enough this release is far different from the early albums and delivers a solid dose of Heavy Metal rumbling that I think can appeal to even the non-fan. It was better than I remember them and finds a little more musicality being showcased this time around. I had a couple of tracks that I liked the most such as “Burn In Hell” and “A Good Day to Die” which were fast-paced numbers along the lines of Motorhead. There were some levels of lyrical predictability here but overall it is possibly the best work that the band has delivered in years.
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