"From the Very Depths..."

By Dr. Abner Mality

That time again, brethern. Time for a new Venom album. Is it the same as what they've been doing for the last decade? Yes, I'd say so. Is it worth showering your hard-earned shekels for? Depends on your expectations. "Black Metal" and "At War With Satan" this is not. You will not hear the like of that within this day and age, so don't expect it here. However, if you dig the Satanic biker metal sound Venom have perfected in the last ten years or so, this is unbeatable. I thought their last effort "Fallen Angels" was the best of the modern era and "From the Very Depths" is very, very close in feel to that.

This follows a very familiar template. What has changed is the production. This is the clearest I've ever heard on a Venom album while still retaining a filthy sound.  Cronos' bass is just brutal...a true bulldozer, indeed! Listen to "Wings of Valkyrie" and "Grinding Teeth" and believe. This clarity shows that they continue to improve as musicians while keeping their ferocity. Dante's drum sound is intense and pounding, but this is the album where guitarist Rage comes into his own. Lots of killer guitar soloing throughout, sounding entirely diffferent than what Mantas would have done.....perhaps more precise and "shredding" than Mantas but pretty smoking. Dante and Rage now convince me that they are worthy of the Venom name. As for Cronos, well, what the fuck can you say about him? He is a brute.

Fourteeen tracks this time around. I'd say on the whole, this is a bit faster and more punk influenced. "The Death of Rock and Roll" is flat out speed mayhem and "Long Haired Punks" isn't far behind. Sure, we've heard this stuff from Venom before, but they are having fun and raising hell and it seems more intense. A couple of tracks like the  blah "Temptation" and unfortunately the title track sound written on autopilot. But that's made up by power riffers like "Stigmata Satanas" and "Crucified"...mid-paced but dirty. Some of the heaviest tunes here are the slowest..."Wings of Valkyrie" and "Evil Law" are like musical Sherman tanks, with the latter being enhanced by Cronos chanting in some archaic tongue. The ringers on this album are the more complex, virtually progressive "Mephistopheles" where Rage steps up and which sounds like something from the "Resurrection" album and the record ending anthem "Rise", which is so simple and basic yet which virtually demands you pump your fist in the air.

I already hear people over-analyzing this record. Better to just pop it in your Harley and blast at full volume while riding your hog to Hell and back. That's the best way to appreciate it.