Venom Inc. - Ave 01All of us — even we manly men — have at some point, stumbled unnervingly into love. And we’ve all felt that multiverse-reverberating kidney punch when it inevitably goes to hell. To be so hopelessly enamored until destiny deigns to dissolve said bond and leave us only with a collection of increasingly pallid memories that cast a pall over once cherished years. Thus was my young love affair with Venom. It’s a conflicting thing to look back on a past partner, if you’re so inclined, and see the changes the years have wrought; a line here, a wrinkle there, a divorcing of two-thirds of their classic lineup that have since gone on to form an arguably superior incarnation… Boasting the original talents of guitarist, Jeff “Mantas” Dunn, drummer, Anthony “Abaddon” Bray and once Venom vocalist, Tony “Demolition Man” Dolan, Venom Inc. are on the cusp of releasing their debut, Avé, and surely in a bid to prove in whose veins the real poison courses. Full of speed metal mileage and vesperal satanic stylings, do these boys still have the stuff? The black stuff.

Despite featuring the same lineup as Venom‘s unremarkable early 90’s material, Venom Inc. enjoy increased memorability. Although we should all know the abrasive classic black metal roots of Venom‘s legacy, this new chapter has distanced themselves from Cronos and his cohorts by injecting a palpable traditional metal flavor into the mix. Opener, “Avé Satanas,” has more scope than I was initially expecting. Bastardising Avé Maria in its intro, the song soon delves into Mantas’s bone-dry riff work for a protracted tempo and more legitimate menace than their alma mater have mustered this millennium. Demolition Man’s vocals are still analogous of Cronos, particularly on the phrasing, but he manages a more robust timbre, which lends the front man an increased animal quality.

“Forged in Hell” recalls the members’ brash beginnings with typical speed metal riffs and a gang-shouted chorus; it’s enjoyable fare, but Avé‘s true strengths lie in its more nuanced song writing. It’s that devil in the detail that provides numbers like “Dein Fleisch” with the restraint required to be truly effective, offering up a seductive malcontent that keeps me coming back for more. Although tracks like “Time to Die,” channeling Sodom in its thrash verses and rabid resolve, are more than welcome, the album’s more focused and darker moments are those that serve to elevate it. On the other hand, I have a personal beef with songs that exist to instruct me as to metal’s glory. Unless it’s anything from Bonded By Blood or Priest‘s “Metal Meltdown,” I don’t need to hear self-referential torch-bearing tunes. Unfortunately, Avé harbors not one, but two. “Metal We Bleed” and particularly closer, “Black n’ Roll” are odes to the iron gods, and while the former at least hosts some catchy rhythms, the latter is just cheap. Bizarrely, the album also ends with a strange Jimmy Saville impression;1as far as non-sequiturs go, it’s poor taste, to say the least, but then metal never championed the socially acceptable.

Venom Inc. - Ave 02

Satisfyingly, the album showcases notably improved instrumentation across the board, but especially from Mantas. His soloing is by far the best of his career and his bulky riffs remain the catalyst for much of the record’s propulsion. And bulk is really Avé‘s main issue — there’s just too much of it. A distinctly modern album in every way, some scrupulous self-editing would have gone a long way here. As it is, the songs often overrun, and at just over an hour, a handful could have been excised completely to further hone the record, instead of subverting the album’s potential for depth on moody cuts like “Preacher Man,” with throwaway atypical padding.

Just like bumping into a previous paramour, Avé had me both trepidatious yet smiling at first listen, but the bitterness was never far behind as diminishing returns, whore that she is, soon took her price. Venom Inc. is by far the best its modern namesake has to offer and the most relevant toxic tithe I’ve heard in a long while. While substantially flawed, for a time, it extended me a suitably warm welcome before my interests began to wane. Equipped with a foundation of some deceptively well-developed material, may their next foray past the gates serve to abandon all hope with added damnation. Until then, my blackened heart remains solemn and sober.


Rating: 2.5/5.0
DR: 7 | Format Reviewed: 267 kbps mp3
Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Websites: venom-inc.com | facebook.com/venomincofficial
Releases Worldwide: August 11th, 2017

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  1. Famous British long-running children’s T.V presenter, turned infamous serial pedophile
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  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    You have a personal beef with songs that exist to instruct you as to metal’s glory? Then my guess is that you’re not a big Manowar fan, am I right?

    • Ferrous Beuller

      Aside from Battle Hymns, which I still like less than most, they’re not for me. Believe me, I’ve tried too.

      • Obviously you must now leave the hall.

        • Ferrous Beuller

          Leather lover!

          • Leather metal or no metal at all!

          • Westpaceagle

            It sure sounds like you are hell bent

          • [not a Dr]

            Even Metallica agree on this: No life ’till leather!

          • Eli Valcik

            I’m reading this as I’m listening to Join the Legion by Cirirh Ungol, seems appropriate.

          • drug_genosh

            good choice! “C’MON!”

          • HeavyMetalHamster

            May your sword stay wet!
            Like a young girl in her priiiiiime!!

          • Here’s Johnny

            i forgot that was one of the worst lines in metal history.

          • HeavyMetalHamster

            Probably why I remember it….

          • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

            And by “worst” you mean “best” right?

          • Here’s Johnny

            actually the worst line ever would be – “marry me marry me i want you as my wife spermless like a gurl”

          • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

            Hold your hammers hiiiiiiiiiigh!!

          • [not a Dr]

            Jeans and leather, not cracker-jack cloth!

        • Here’s Johnny

          “Mem’ries light the corners of my mind
          Misty water-colored mem’ries of the way we were”

          Shit, wrong song on shuffle. I meant “Woman, be my slave
          That’s your reason to live”.

      • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

        I feel sad for people who can’t enjoy Manowar…

        • Ferrous Beuller

          You condescending bastard.

          • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

            You mean condescending bastard of leather and steel?

          • You best chrome some of that steel, son.

          • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

            All my steel is chrome plated.

          • That might be too much chrome.

          • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

            Come on! There’s no such thing as too much chrome!

          • Eli Valcik

            MY SKIN IS SHINNY CHROME AND MY BLOOD IS GUZZLELINE!!!!!!

          • Nick Maestas

            You guys just gotta figure out this chrome shit and listen to Principal Extinction by Demontage

          • Brutalist_Receptacle

            “I said I wasn’t being condescending.” – – What all condescending people say after being condescending.

          • Mollusc

            He has got his chaps and steel toe-capped boots on, though.

          • sir_c

            WHAT!? I CANT HEAR YOU WITHOUT CAPS

          • Eli Valcik

            “I said I wasn’t be I being condescending” You don’t get to decide that!

          • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

            Aw, fuck it, of course I was being condescending!

        • Mollusc

          I only need the front covers of oiled-up muscly men in their (war?) panties to make me also feel like a man.

          • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

            I was talking about music, but to each their own… not that there’s anything wrong with that.

          • Ferrous Beuller

            No one thought you were actually being condescending – all friends here. I re-visited Manowar sporadically through my 20’s but it just won’t stick. One day.

          • Mollusc

            The music’s a bonus!

          • [not a Dr]

            Isn’t a mollusc already 100% oiled-up muscle?

          • Mollusc

            I like to think of it as slime.

          • Master of Muppets

            The scientists call it Slugdge.

          • Mollusc

            I have this image of manowar rubbing each other with slugs (or maybe a squid) before they go on stage etc.

          • Master of Muppets

            I… Have no response to that.

          • Mollusc

            Thanks for reminding me about Slugdge, though!

        • Malcolm in the Middle X

          Manowar is like public masturbation. It may feel good for the person doing it, bit

    • ssorg

      I guess Ferrous is NOT welcome to the Metal Aaaaaaaaaaaage! (Hammerfall > Manowar)

  • madhare

    Music maybe okay but… -0.5 for the stupidly middleaged video. And -1.0 for the gratuitous and totally f*** idiotic use of German language. Haven’t seen the German-cliche used this badly in metal for some time.

    But then again, Venom and all the black metal it spawned has never been known for it’s intellect, has it. In that context of lame poseurship, having too many songs about metal-self-praise a la Manowar isn’t very surprising either.

    • Tofu muncher

      but, b00bs…

  • Mollusc

    Would praise for your review help with your feelings of hurt and/or betrayal?

    • Ferrous Beuller

      Of course.

      • Mollusc

        I liked it.

        • Ferrous Beuller

          Now I’m hurt AND betrayed.

          • Mollusc

            And high maintenance!

          • Ferrous Beuller

            You never make me feel special!

          • Mollusc

            You turned my whole world around… (using best Barry White impression)

          • Get a room!

          • Mollusc

            But I want to give him his present now, so the children can see!

          • Ferrous Beuller

            Aaaaaaand we’re done here.

          • Master of Muppets

            NOT IN FRONT OF THE CHILDREN!!!

          • Mollusc

            What… S-E-X…?

          • Master of Muppets

            Let’s not talk about it, Mollusc-y.

  • wayne the devil

    Whenever a band adds a asterisk like INC or AD to their name all I can think of is a line from an older movie..”A’yup, sometimes dead is better..”

    • Master of Muppets

      “A line from an older movie…”
      Woe, Discordia. You have forgotten the face of your father.

  • Here’s Johnny

    2.5 is too low, a 3 at least would suffice. You are also saying Venom making a joke is in bad taste, bloody Venom we are talking about here! Prime Evil is an underrated album, although that was 88 and not the early 90’s material.

    The main flaw of this album is some songs go on way too long, they could have trimmed it a bit. Still though, this is the real Venom and not that inferior Cronos incarnation.

    Mantas is also an underrated guitarist and a riff god.

  • manimal

    Nothing wilts my erection quite like musicians wearing bandannas.

  • Yolo Swaggins

    I wouldn’t really describe this as black metal…yet the embedded track is addictively fun. Seems like it’s worth the shot of listening to more of em.

    • Nick Maestas

      Venom is black metal to the core

      • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

        Venom is Black Metal’s core.

        • Nick Maestas

          Isn’t that the truth hahaha!

          • Master of Muppets

            The truth is Character was DT’s best album, and you make me proud.

          • Nick Maestas

            Character is fucking amazing Am I 1 and Dry Run? Holy shit haha every song is a hit.

          • Master of Muppets

            I saw them in Massachusetts a couple years back; they were babbling between songs, started saying something about playing a song they hadn’t done in years… I had my fingers crossed and my hopes high, Mikael goes “This one’s called Through…” and all anyone can hear is one overjoyed Drewcifer screaming “-Smudged Lenses! FUCK YES!
            Those lads put on one Hell of a show as it was, but hearing them slay one of THE songs that got me into metal over a decade after the fact… total soul satisfaction, second only to seeing Pearl Jam.

          • Nick Maestas

            Shit I wish they played more songs off Character when I saw them for the Atoma tour but yea I agree they pretty much were my entry into everything death metal and other realm of metal so it was amazing seeinb them!

      • Yolo Swaggins

        Well, lables are dumb anyhow. I’m probably wrong, but that’s not atypical.

        I just thought they sounded way too poppy for black metal.

        • Nick Maestas

          Haha yea when they “started” black metal back in the day it had a different sound then mayhem and shit like that

  • Nola Trash Talk

    Bollocks! This thing is pure evil! Loving it! 4/5

  • herrschobel

    hm…like a a dead corpse nobody wants to fuck with…plus the drums sound like plastic. this is nonsense. nostalgia and all that .. but there is so much better stuff out there these days….why bother….pass

  • vlzvl

    lol 2.5,
    this is Venom to the bone with an excellent Mantas behind 4/5
    ⛧⛧⛧⛧⛧⛧⛧⛧⛧⛧⛧⛧⛧⛧⛧⛧⛧⛧⛧⛧⛧⛧⛧⛧⛧⛧