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Metal/Prog Metal CD Reviews

Venom

From the Very Depths...

Review by Mike Korn

Venom is eternal.  Cronos has made his pact with Old Nick for eternal youth and he’s made the most of it. The band continues to churn out fast, sleazy biker metal at a reliable pace and at this point, there is little the band can do to surprise listeners short of becoming a country and western or rap band. Thankfully, that’s nothing you have to worry about on From the Very Depths…

The band continues in the vein of their previous effort Fallen Angels, but the quality of the production is noticeably fuller and richer here. Many would venture to say that good production ruins the inherent roughness of Venom, and I can see their point, but here I disagree. The sound is clear, yet still bestial, and it allows the improved talent of the band to stand out more. In particular, guitarist Rage has markedly upped his game, escaping the legendary shadow of Mantas and cutting loose with shredding solos left and right.

No one picks up Venom to hear freshness.Tthey listen to the band so they can raise the horns, drink whisky and praise Satan, though not necessarily in that order. From The Very Depths… still doesn’t touch their groundbreaking first three releases but it’s another fine addition to their diabolical field of work.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2015  Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Eruptus

This is just a minute long warm up of gradually increasing screams leading right into the title track.

From the Very Depths...

A fast and basic opener, this lets you know Rage isn’t here to mess around. He displays his guitar chops right away. Cronos’ bass sound is monstrous, and as usual he sounds ready to roast someone alive. This is a good track, but there is better to come.

The Death of Rock and Roll

The title track was just a warm up for this flesh ripper, which has the fury of supercharged Motorhead. This will get your head banging like a beast! Drummer Dante gives the drums a lusty thumping and shows he’s also on his top game.

Smoke

The pace drops for this mid-paced and bass-driven cut, which has a vaguely Asian feel to it. This sounds more like later period Venom, with chugging riffs and super gruff vocals.

Temptation

This seems fast and heavy enough, but comes across a bit like filler to me. It’s way too similar to past Venom cuts from albums like Hell and Metal Black and sounds like something you’ve heard before. On a 14 track album, this probably could have been left off.

Long Haired Punks

This has the ability to be another great Venom anthem like “Welcome To Hell” or “Rip Ride.” Another brutally fast and heavy cut; this still has the feeling of rock and roll to it, with catchy riffing and goofy lyrics celebrating drunken and demonic debauchery. Some sizzling fretwork by Rage adds to the power.

Stigmata Satanas
Starting with a weird and choppy beginning, this soon turns into a crunching beatdown.  This is one of the sleeper tracks of the album, a sure-fire headbanger and Cronos sounds great. Nobody spits out blasphemous lyrics like he can.
Crucified

This is a growling, crunchy mid-stomper that’s on the simple-minded side. Yet you can’t deny the power of the riff or the hatred of Cronos.

Evil Law

This is just flat out heavy. It’s not that fast, but holy cats that bass sound will cave your chest in. I love the growled chanting here. It adds a dirty, evil sound to the whole thing.  There’s also the sound of screaming demons in the background.  Some great melodic soloing from Rage puts the cherry on the top.

Grinding Teeth

The beginning guitar arpeggios almost sound like they could be from another band, but when the main riff kicks in, it’s every man for himself! A roaring whirlwind of a song, this is one of the best on the album. This would be a huge favorite live!

Ouverture

A strategically placed interlude, this  provides a breather before the album thunders to its conclusion.   

Mephistopheles
I have differing opinions on this track. It sounds a lot like past Venom tracks, almost to the point of mimicry. The mid-section has a very epic feel with some almost progressive guitar soloing that’s the best on the whole record. Despite the extreme tightness of the playing, something sounds just too familiar to me.
Wings of Valkyrie

This may just be the heaviest song on the album. The guitar is super down-tuned, and the bass sounds like it’s being played in a cave. It’s another basic mid paced cruncher that wins the day strictly through sheer brutality. ..and a rabid beast of a song.

Rise
Some phony live crowd noise adds some corniness to this pumping anthem. This is the kind of tune where you just put your brain under the chair and head into the pit to crack some heads! Sophisticated songwriting it ain’t, but hell-raising metal it is.
 
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