Everything we loved about the mid-era Venom sound
Venom Inc. is built from the centralized trio that represented Venom on three albums - 'Prime Evil' (1989), 'Temples of Ice' (1991) and 'The Waste Lands' (1992). That three-piece, consisting of Tony "Demolition Man" Dolan, Anthony "Abaddon" Bray and Jeffrey "Mantas" Dunn reunited at the 2015 "Keep It True" festival when Bray was asked to join both Dunn and Dolan (performing as Mpire of Evil) on stage to perform Venom songs. The set resonated with fans and the trio starting forming the ideas around this new incarnation of Venom. Both Bray and Dunn are members of the original Venom line-up, complete with Cronos, that recorded influential records like 'Welcome to Hell' (1981), 'Black Metal' (1982) and 'At War with Satan' (1984). Cronos continues to tour and record as the original Venom, but this new band gives fans the opportunity to expand on the Venom legacy and experience a whole new chapter.
'Avé', the band's debut record, captures everything we loved about that mid-era Venom sound. It incorporates the NWOBHM roots of Newcastle, that faster rock and roll approach that made Motorhead, Warfare and Raven so addictive, while still maintaining a modern sound. It's a difficult feat to achieve, trying to remain true to the roots but still liberating the artist at the same time. 'Ave' does this and does it very well. Dunn states in the pre-press interviews that a majority of the album was done in one take and that sort of lively, organic feel permeates the album. Tracks like "Forged in Hell", "Metal We Bleed" and "Black N Roll" roar down the rails with a frenzy of fast riffs, quick sticks and Dolan's vocal demolition. His comparison to Cronos is legitimate and proves why a lot of fans are calling Venom Inc. the true Venom. Traditionalism is a caveat, but more groove-oriented songs like "I Kneel to No God" and "Preacher Man" showcase a slower, more methodical approach to grinding expression. It's fresh, invigorating and adequately displays a Venom thrust into the heaviness of 2017.
While thoroughly enjoying the Venom records, I'm not sure I've heard anything this good out of that entire camp since the late 80s. Metal fans assign allegiance, but I don't think there needs to be "one". However, based on the strengths of 'Avé' there could be a leader.