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The title says it all, folks. "Across the Open Sea" is a profoundly painful listening experience, as it never wanders into unknown territory further than mommy allows. In general, the oldschool speed/death riffage easily expresses a badass masculine attitude without the idiocy associated with the majority of "masculine" acts, hinting at adventure, slaughter, frenzied rape, and a mystical continuity of virile activity over the ages, regardless of socio-historical context. While this is perfectly evocative, great for goofing around in the woods and drinking some exquisite porter, the completely predictable and unimaginative (verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-verse-chorus) song structures obstruct these phrases' capability to create a slightly more elaborate logical progression of ideas, leaving the matter to the listener's competence in its entirety. It is possible to create a consistent mythos out of these songs, therefore it can't be said that "Across the Open Sea" lacks substance - more like depth of inquiry into these ideas, such that would dispel the need for a temporary suspension of disbelief. I personally find it best to use this album as a soundtrack for an active day, and when in doubt, reassure myself that this is actually Venom gone viking-rock. Oh, and the acoustic title track's references to Tchaikovsky's "Nutcracker" are hilarious.