All Access Rating: A
|Venom - From the Very Depths 2015|
The notorious architects of extreme metal, their 1982 album Black Metal basically responsible for starting a whole sub-genre all by itself, Venom burst forth from the northeast England city of Newcastle upon Tyne in 1979 like a vile horde of demons escaping the underworld.
Nobody else could have concocted such a dirty and devastating perfect storm of frenzied punk and metal and Satanic imagery, and legions have fallen under their spell – some acolytes winding up in some of the biggest bands in the world, like Metallica, Slayer and Megadeth. Due out soon on Spinefarm Records, From the Very Depths won't disappoint them.
Torn between a desire to methodically maul its victims with trudging menace, as they do in "Crucified" and "Evil Law" – the latter switching tactics midstream to build a massive swell of steely riffage, courtesy of guitarist Rage – and run like hell through a cloud of sonic, speed-metal toxins in "Grinding Teeth" and the all-out war that is "Mephistopheles," Venom is, as always, adept at switching gears. The smoldering "Smoke" surveys an ash-covered apocalypse as an evil grin spreads slowly across its face, while the hammering "Temptation" is like a film of car crash-test footage on continuous loop and "Long Haired Punks" toggles between going really, really fast and then gradually halting.
A sinister laugh is heard at the beginning of "Stigmata Satanas," as a ring of aural hellfire seems to surround wherever its coming from, and there's a reason for it. Delivered with such overwhelming force, its chugging riffs blowing steam, the track is a vicious mosh pit of energy, that infamous "bulldozer bass" of Cronos driving Venom hard through cursed landscapes.
Blistering guitar solos erupt throughout From the Very Depths, and the effect is dizzying on this swarming, violent, white-knuckle ride of a record, interrupted only for a brief respite by a grimly melodic acoustic interlude called "Ouverture" that reeks of death. Hard-hitting, intense and unremittingly hostile, with a touch of black humor, From the Very Depths is classic Venom. Gird your loins.
– Peter Lindblad