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Venom - Metal Black

By Newsferatu, Writer
Sunday, April 9, 2006 @ 7:35 AM

On Castle/Sanctuary

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By Kevin Dobbs

Certainly the nearest thing in an age that comes close to the wall of sound that launched the band through 'Welcome to Hell' this release also combines some of the finese of 'Resurrection' and 'Cast In Stone' which provides a good mix of the best of both worlds. Not earth breaking but a nice continuation of a string of solid releases that do not damage the bands heritage. A little less hardness and more light and shade would have added that extra star in my opinion.

"Antechrist" kicks out the gates and is an instant favourite with chainsaw guitar and harks back to "A Thousand Days" or "Poison" style but contains a tuneful bridge which lifts it from the norm. Venom could always write a chorus and this one contains a ripper."Burn in Hell" is a "Die Hard" hybrid and is really strong too. The band slip back into the more routine thrash genre with "House of Pain" perhaps a grower but didn't catch the ears the first couple of times. Time will tell I guess. "Death and Dying" is a bit the same but sticks after a couple of listens. Certainly these two are very similar to the newer daze in the last decade say rather than the vintage style of the 80's. "Rege Satanas" is brilliant do I here some Thin Lizzy influence, strange but true? Good old fashioned Venom in the "To Hell and Back" mode built on a monster riff and like a mythical beast in flight this is worth the price alone complete with hummable chorus.Yes hummable. More please?

"Darkest Realm" is a little cheesy being an ode to the band itself. Not so great but if any one can sound convincing on this kind of stuff its Cronos? "A Good Day To Die" is an anthem spat out with (well erm) venom. Great again with a slow mid section and tasteful guitar bridge, before hitting you again for a second round assault. "Assassin" unfortunately reminds me of Slayer, who are a fine band in their own right but Venom slip into tribute mode of late too easily when delivering these kinds of numbers. "Blessed Dead" is surely an anti-drugs fable and is interesting in that it breaks from the blacker arts theme focused upon in most of the other material here. "Hours of Darkness" is almost tuneful with one of those Middle Eastern feels that give it added flavour and will be a replay favourite I think. "Sleep When I am Dead" returns to the thrash arena, but the two closing items of "Maleficarvm" and "Metal Black" are scorching and finish us on a high note particuraly the former.

So a mixed bag of glories some high points a couple of lows but all in all worthy of the purchase price indeed. Not a classic in the league of this mighty bands beginnings but a class act and solid release non the less. Buy with confidence as a worthy addition to the heritage.


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