VENOM

Heavy Metal / Speed Metal / Thrash Metal • United Kingdom
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UK act VENOM was formed in 1979, as a new moniker to be used by the band that originally started out as Guillotine. In 1978 this band consisted of Jeffrey Dunn and Dave Rutherford (guitars), Dean Hewitt (bass), Dave Blackman (vocals) and Chris Mercaters (drums). Then this band was hit with a flurry of line-up changes: Blackman left, replaced by Clive Archer (vocals), while Mercaters was replaced by Anthony Bray (drums). Next guy out was Hewitt, replaced by Alan Winston (bass). And finally Rutherford left in the summer of 1979, replaced by Conrad Lant (guitars). Shorty after the Gullotine moniker was left behind, with Venom as the new name of choice.

The band was reduced to a quartet just prior to a concert the same year, as Winston suddenly decided to quit. Lant took over bass duties, and by using his guitar amps for the bass he borrowed for the
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VENOM Discography

VENOM albums / top albums

VENOM Welcome to Hell album cover 3.91 | 41 ratings
Welcome to Hell
Speed Metal 1981
VENOM Black Metal album cover 3.56 | 33 ratings
Black Metal
Speed Metal 1982
VENOM At War With Satan album cover 3.66 | 28 ratings
At War With Satan
Speed Metal 1984
VENOM Possessed album cover 2.91 | 18 ratings
Possessed
Speed Metal 1985
VENOM Calm Before the Storm album cover 2.66 | 12 ratings
Calm Before the Storm
Heavy Metal 1987
VENOM Prime Evil album cover 3.52 | 13 ratings
Prime Evil
Thrash Metal 1989
VENOM Temples of Ice album cover 2.88 | 8 ratings
Temples of Ice
Heavy Metal 1991
VENOM The Waste Lands album cover 3.06 | 9 ratings
The Waste Lands
Thrash Metal 1992
VENOM Cast in Stone album cover 3.12 | 11 ratings
Cast in Stone
Thrash Metal 1997
VENOM Resurrection album cover 3.07 | 6 ratings
Resurrection
Thrash Metal 2000
VENOM Metal Black album cover 2.91 | 7 ratings
Metal Black
Thrash Metal 2006
VENOM Hell album cover 3.11 | 9 ratings
Hell
Thrash Metal 2008
VENOM Fallen Angels album cover 2.95 | 6 ratings
Fallen Angels
Thrash Metal 2011
VENOM From the Very Depths album cover 3.67 | 3 ratings
From the Very Depths
Heavy Metal 2015
VENOM Storm the Gates album cover 1.75 | 2 ratings
Storm the Gates
Thrash Metal 2018

VENOM EPs & splits

VENOM Bursting Out - Pull the Trigger album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Bursting Out - Pull the Trigger
Speed Metal 1984
VENOM Canadian Assault album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Canadian Assault
Heavy Metal 1985
VENOM French Assault album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
French Assault
Heavy Metal 1985
VENOM Hell at Hammersmith album cover 3.50 | 1 ratings
Hell at Hammersmith
Heavy Metal 1985
VENOM American Assault album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
American Assault
Heavy Metal 1985
VENOM Scandinavian Assault album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Scandinavian Assault
Heavy Metal 1986
VENOM German Assault album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
German Assault
Heavy Metal 1987
VENOM Tear Your Soul Apart album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Tear Your Soul Apart
Thrash Metal 1990
VENOM Radio Hell: The Friday Rock Show Sessions album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Radio Hell: The Friday Rock Show Sessions
Heavy Metal 1992
VENOM Venom '96 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Venom '96
Heavy Metal 1996

VENOM live albums

VENOM Official Bootleg album cover 2.50 | 4 ratings
Official Bootleg
Speed Metal 1985
VENOM Eine kleine Nachtmusik album cover 3.64 | 7 ratings
Eine kleine Nachtmusik
Speed Metal 1986
VENOM Bitten album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Bitten
Thrash Metal 2002
VENOM Witching Hour album cover 3.00 | 1 ratings
Witching Hour
Heavy Metal 2003

VENOM demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

VENOM Demon album cover 2.00 | 1 ratings
Demon
Speed Metal 1980
VENOM To Hell and Back album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
To Hell and Back
Speed Metal 1982
VENOM Live E.P. album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Live E.P.
Speed Metal 1982
VENOM At War with Satan album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
At War with Satan
Speed Metal 1983
VENOM Fire album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Fire
Thrash Metal 1988

VENOM re-issues & compilations

VENOM Here Lies Venom album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Here Lies Venom
Speed Metal 1985
VENOM Japanese Assault album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Japanese Assault
Heavy Metal 1985
VENOM From Hell to the Unknown... album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
From Hell to the Unknown...
Heavy Metal 1985
VENOM The Singles 80-86 album cover 4.00 | 2 ratings
The Singles 80-86
Heavy Metal 1986
VENOM Acid Queen album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Acid Queen
Heavy Metal 1991
VENOM The Book of Armageddon album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Book of Armageddon
Heavy Metal 1992
VENOM Leave Me In Hell album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Leave Me In Hell
Heavy Metal 1993
VENOM In Memorium: 1981-1994 album cover 2.50 | 1 ratings
In Memorium: 1981-1994
Heavy Metal 1993
VENOM Old, New, Borrowed and Blue album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Old, New, Borrowed and Blue
Heavy Metal 1993
VENOM Skeletons in the Closet album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Skeletons in the Closet
Heavy Metal 1993
VENOM Black Reign album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Black Reign
Heavy Metal 1996
VENOM From Heaven to the Unknown album cover 3.50 | 1 ratings
From Heaven to the Unknown
Thrash Metal 1997
VENOM New, Live & Rare album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
New, Live & Rare
Heavy Metal 1998
VENOM Buried Alive album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Buried Alive
Heavy Metal 1999
VENOM The Collection album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Collection
Heavy Metal 2000
VENOM The Court of Death album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Court of Death
Heavy Metal 2000
VENOM The Venom Archive album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Venom Archive
Thrash Metal 2001
VENOM Greatest Hits & More album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Greatest Hits & More
Heavy Metal 2001
VENOM A Triple Dose of Venom album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
A Triple Dose of Venom
Heavy Metal 2001
VENOM Darkest Hour album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Darkest Hour
Heavy Metal 2002
VENOM Welcome to Hell album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Welcome to Hell
Heavy Metal 2002
VENOM Kissing the Beast album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Kissing the Beast
Heavy Metal 2002
VENOM In League With Satan album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
In League With Satan
Heavy Metal 2002
VENOM Lay Down Your Soul album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Lay Down Your Soul
Heavy Metal 2002
VENOM The Seven Gates of Hell: Singles 1980 - 1985 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Seven Gates of Hell: Singles 1980 - 1985
Thrash Metal 2003
VENOM Witching Hour - The Best of Venom album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Witching Hour - The Best of Venom
Heavy Metal 2003
VENOM MMV album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
MMV
Heavy Metal 2005

VENOM singles (9)

.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
In League With Satan
Speed Metal 1981
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Bloodlust
Speed Metal 1982
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Die Hard
Heavy Metal 1983
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Manitou
Heavy Metal 1984
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Warhead
Thrash Metal 1984
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Manitou (UK)
Heavy Metal 1984
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Nightmare
Speed Metal 1985
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Antechrist
Speed Metal 2006
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Hammerhead
Heavy Metal 2011

VENOM movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
The 7th Date of Hell - Live at Hammersmith Odeon
Heavy Metal 1984
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Video Nightmare
Heavy Metal 1985
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Combat Tour Live: The Ultimate Revenge
Thrash Metal 1985
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Hell at Hammersmith
Heavy Metal 1985
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Alive in '85
Heavy Metal 1986
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Metal City
Speed Metal 1987
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Live '90
Heavy Metal 1990
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Second Coming
Heavy Metal 1996
.. Album Cover
4.00 | 1 ratings
Live in London
Heavy Metal 2004

VENOM Reviews

VENOM Calm Before the Storm

Album · 1987 · Heavy Metal
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SilentScream213
There is a certain level of songwriting ability and production quality that Venom never had that prevent their albums from being true masterpieces, and put a real threshold on all their material. Despite that - and despite the very low ratings for this album - I find this their best, most consistent release.

I can understand the low votes, as Venom basically threw away their cult icon status to release much more commercially viable material, but anyone not concerned with status should be able to see this album has some very strong riffs and their best musicianship to date. They also added in some catchy vocal melodies for good measure. All the songs bar "Muscle" are great, sound unique (something Venom has never done) and offer a different side of the band that I think they excel at. There's nothing technical or groundbreaking here, but it's a great joy to listen to front to back, something I can't say even about Venom's great early material.

VENOM Storm the Gates

Album · 2018 · Thrash Metal
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Kev Rowland
What were you doing in 1979? Me, I was 16 years old and desperate to discover more about the new metal movement which was literally sweeping the UK at the time, and at the forefront of that was the magazine Sounds. I and many others used to get it every week (grief, a weekly music newspaper, we were so lucky) and devour what Deaf Barton was discovering, and although I was sending off for records from bands, by far my favourite label was Neat Records in Newcastle. They had so many incredible bands, with my favourite probably being Raven, and then they had Venom. I can’t have been the only one wondering what on earth was going on with these guys, creating sounds an image which was like none other. Those first three albums are some of the most important ever release in the history of metal, spawning sub genres like no others, and it felt as if Cronos, Abaddon and Mantas could do no wrong.

Of course, since then there has been a rather convoluted band history, but for the most part Cronos has been there belting his bass and providing his vocals, while guitarist Rage and drummer Danté have been by his side for the last ten years. I wasn’t too sure of Venom the first time I heard their music, but over the years have become a firm fan and was relishing listening to this. However, when one realises that easily the best thing about the album is the cover art, then we’re in trouble. Let’s talk about the production, or rather let’s not – the reason bands used to sound bad was due to poor equipment and not enough money, surely no-one these days deliberately goes out of their way to record something that sounds like this? Songs. Yes, there are songs, but they are boring without and fire and are way too repetitive. It almost feels as if there was an album which had to be recorded, so let’s get it done and get back out onto the festival circuit before Venom Inc. (featuring Mantas, Demolition Man (Tony Dolan) and Kling (Abaddon left last year)) steal all the thunder and bookings. On the basis of this, it may be too late.

VENOM Welcome to Hell

Album · 1981 · Speed Metal
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siLLy puPPy
Whether it’s true or not, i have always seen the satire movie Spinal Tap as a parody of the early years of VENOM. Just one look at a photo of VENOM circa 1981 with the release of their debut album WELCOME TO HELL and i can’t help but think of Spinal Tap since at this early stage was down to three members after Clive Archer aka Jesus Christ left the band and Cronos took over that role. The trio looked very much like David St. Hubbins, Nigel Tufnel and Derek Smalls but the fictional band was tamed down to a mere rock band status for mass consumption. The reason i have always made this comparison is because when it came to VENOM’s landmark and revolutionary debut album WELCOME TO HELL, the band made one of the most laughable music industry bungles in all of metal history. The band thought they were recording a demo when in fact they were recording an entire album. Every time i think of this tale, for some reason i flash back to that scene in “This Is Spinal Tap” where a miniature version of Stonehenge ends up on stage after the measurements were bungled!

Well, sometimes the biggest bungles lead to unforeseen notoriety and in the case of VENOM it couldn’t have been more of enigmatic coincidence as WELCOME TO HELL not only exposed the world to a new grittier style of heavy metal that would become known as speed metal but also proved to be the nascent birth pangs of all the extreme forms of metal such as thrash, death and black metal sub-genres that would emerge several years down the road. Not bad for one of metal’s biggest Homer Simpson award moments! While the early classic lineup consisted of Cronos (Conrad Lant) on vocals and bass, Mantas (Jeff Dunn) on guitars and Abaddon (Tony Bray) on drums, the three track cassette-only demo is the only VENOM release to feature Clive Archer aka Jesus Christ on vocals. By the time VENOM got around to this full-length album they were a mere trio of Cronos (vocals, bass), Mantas (guitars) and Abaddon (drums.)

VENOM were a rowdy bunch and took as much inspiration from punk inspired bands like Motorhead as they did from the NWOBHM that was finding traction with bands like Judas Priest and Iron Maiden. This mixing it up of styles and a desire to take things to ever more extreme arenas earned WELCOME TO HELL the honor as ground zero for the extreme metal universe to follow and add to that the unforeseen lo-fi production that truly gives this album the ultimate underground DIY aesthetics only proved to be a plus. While the musical style is more rooted in the NWOBHM that was popular at the time, VENOM took headbangers into the world of the dark side of the occult and while the black metal world that followed would take on a completely musical approach, this release provided enough lyrical and darkened imagery to inspire for generations to come. With an opening track titled “Sons of Satan” and the closer “In League With Satan,” VENOM created one of the most vile sounding recordings of the era.

WELCOME TO HELL was aptly named as it sounds exactly like an 11 track romp through the underworld with Luciferian sermons mixed with buzzsaw fueled musical ceremonies. The metal world was just getting used to the sounds of the NWOBM and then this blasphemous noise emerged from nowhere. The censors were not pleased but VENOM let the genie out of the bottle and the snowball effect with bands getting more extreme and in every direction. Soon speed metal would evolve into the early thrash metal of Slayer and Metallica while Hellhammer and Bathory would emulate the evil aspects of WELCOME TO HELL and create more sinister refined musical terror to accompany its hitherto unthinkable content. This album was a noisy cacophonous mess to the ears of most (and still is) but underneath its lo-fi orotundity lurked a menacing parade of subject matter that could wake Aleister Crowley from the dead.

VENOM’s approach here is fairly primitive compared to the crazy complex black metal that would evolve but yet for all it’s school boy garage band simplicity, it struck pay dirt with its gleeful celebratory stance of unbridled Satanism and no fucks given, an approach not experienced in heavier music since Black Widow’s famous 1970 album “Sacrifice.” Personally it took me a while for this one to grow on me. VENOM has never been synonymous with sophistication. This band was all about blood, guts and glory and of course praising the most taboo subjects that offended the religious prudish values that had a stranglehold on both sides of the Atlantic. While not quite black metal and not quite thrash, WELCOME TO HELL nevertheless contains the seeds of both and the blueprints laid out here were quickly put to good use. Even Motley Crue took it to heart and created one of the first mainstream albums to implement the sacrilegious subject matter on their album “Shout At The Devil” just a couple years later.

While not the most consistent ride as some tracks tend to rely too much on the NWOBHM template, WELCOME TO HELL nonetheless remains an intriguing listen not only as a historical artifact but as an early proto-extremity of the a much heavier metal paradigm that would emerge. Tracks like “Red Light Fever” are primed and ready to destroy eardrums all across the globe with buzzsaw guitar distortion and tribally inspired drums running on fully fueled high octane. Even Cronos’ vocal style signifies a depraved and deranged nature that would become the staple of psychotic growly vocal styles to come. While VENOM couldn’t stay relevant for much longer after they dropped this extreme metal bomb upon an unsuspecting world as an army of new talent would quickly eclipse their efforts, VENOM nevertheless delivered two stellar albums that redefined the possibilities of just how extreme music can get and for that i’m eternally grateful!

VENOM Storm the Gates

Album · 2018 · Thrash Metal
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Necrotica
I simply can’t stop lamenting the fact that one of extreme metal’s foremost pioneers has simply decided to artistically tread water for the last few decades now. Venom will always be well-regarded in the metal community for the innovative leaps forward they took for thrash, black metal, and death metal, but once the early 90s hit, there was simply no place for a band who suddenly became tragically behind the times. Everybody had already heard faster, harder shit by that point, and it would probably have been advisable for Venom to go harder and faster than ever before. Or, at least, experiment a little. Venom did neither of those things, instead opting to go for the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” philosophy for years to come.

And sadly, this philosophy continues into 2018’s Storm the Gates. What we get is a dull platter of incredibly lightweight, meat-and-potatoes heavy metal with some of the most pedestrian riffs you’ll hear this year. Things do start off pretty promisingly, with suitably aggressive and thrashy riffs kicking off the decent “Bring Out Your Dead,” and I will admit that Cronos doesn’t sound half bad for his age. Unfortunately, you’ll soon find out that his voice has no range here. It’s the same semi-guttural, semi-constipated shout throughout the entire thing, with an occasional half-assed attempt at sounding melodic thrown in. This is something of a minor tragedy, as more diverse vocals could have mitigated the issue of boring songwriting; unfortunately, it’s not the case here. It’s all in one ear and out the other, and it starts sounding awful during songs like “Beaten to a Pulp,” in which his Cronos’ voice starts blending in with the guitar work to create a muddled mess in the production values. Venom have always taken pleasure in making poorly-produced music for the sake of aesthetics (this was one of the defining features of their early work, in fact), but the riffs here aren’t punchy or interesting enough to justify the ugly mix of Storm the Gates.

The latter of those two issues is the main reason the album is such a letdown. Even for the standards of modern Venom, this material just isn’t interesting. There are barely any standout tracks, because the same formula of “let’s play some thrash riffs, add a few faux-demonic 80s-Slayer squealing solos, and top it off with the most generic Satanic lyrics we can scrounge up” is repeated ad nauseum, to the point that I completely forgot where I was on the tracklisting quite a few times. I will, however, cover a few of the only highlights that stood out from the rest. “The Mighty Have Fallen” is probably the best song on offer, mostly because of the increased aggression of the riffing and double-bass-driven speed metal drumming. It’s not the most original thing in the world, but hearing that downtuned guitar sound spit out some black metal-inspired tremolo is pretty satisfying. There’s also a creepy atmosphere that pervades “I Dark Lord” and sets it apart from the rest, breaking the pace to serve up some slower riffs that are occasionally interspersed with a sprinkling of clean guitar leads. It sounds pretty cool. But is this enough to salvage the album as a whole? No. I’ll leave it at this: if you just want to hear some competently played riffs and aren’t too concerned with variation, you might get your fix in some way or another with Storm the Gates. But with countless death metal and thrash metal bands doing their schtick better than they are, why would you bother?

VENOM Prime Evil

Album · 1989 · Thrash Metal
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Unitron
Venom is one of those bands that's sadly more known for their influence rather than the actual music they created. Ask anybody, and they'll probably say something along the lines of "Oh yeah, Black Metal. What an influential album!" or "Welcome to Hell, maybe the first speed metal or black metal album!". Will anyone ever comment on the actual quality? Probably not, and if they do it probably would sound like this: "Ehh, it's okay". I probably wouldn't argue a whole lot if they had only made their first five albums (Though I do really like their first two). However, nobody seems to remember that the band's kept at it, and got 100 times better.

Enter 1989, and here is what I think is Venom's finest hour. Prime Evil is the first out of a few albums to feature Tony Dolan on vocals rather than frontman Cronos, who had left the band after the failure of 1987's Calm Before the Storm. You may be thinking how Venom would continue with the loss of their iconic frontman, but I honestly prefer Dolan's vocals. He maintains the spit and snarl of Cronos, while adding a bit of melody as well as that extra attitude needed for thrash metal.

You know what this album's got? It's got grooves, it's got hooks, and under Venom's command you will headbang. "Blackened are the Priests" has a simply killer groove made with the syncopation of the groove of the guitar riffs and the walloping of drums. "Parasite" and "Carnivorous" are pure thrashers, with the former being addicting as all hell and the latter having a bit of black metal guitar work for flavor. "Skeletal Dance" really shows off Anthony Bray's massive drum sound, with the bridge sounding absolutely colossal. That blended with the piercing guitar sound and screeching, it's like entering an ancient arena.

Usually a cover wouldn't be considered a main highlight, but Venom knocks it out of the park with their cover of Black Sabbath's classic "Megalomania". Man, I love the original, but Venom just gives it a whole new sound and brings such a fresh high energy to the beloved classic. "Harder Than Ever" brings in a more traditional heavy metal sound, especially with the main riff sounding right out of an early Motley Crue album. This is a should be metal anthem, it is just so fun.

While black metal fans may not be too happy, thrash fans like myself can rejoice for what's a real hidden gem that too few people even know exist. There's only one real weak moment on the album, and that's the ridiculously cheesy and somewhat forgettable "Skool Daze" which sounds out of place, but that doesn't do much damage to what's otherwise a flawless masterpiece. If you like your thrash both melodic and spitting, give Prime Evil a try.

https://thewickednest.blogspot.com/2018/04/venom-prime-evil-review.html

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