Title: “Cast In Stone” (remaster)
Label: Sanctuary Records
Release Date: 7/18/2006
Genre: Heavy Metal
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.
Continue reading “Cast In Stone” (remaster) by Venom
Title: “Metal Black”
Label: Sanctuary Records
Release Date: 4/4/2006
Genre: Black Metal
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.
Continue reading “Metal Black” by Venom