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This Storm Ain't Calm - 45%

GuntherTheUndying, September 19th, 2008

The bane of age: a curse from decades reveled, or perhaps signals that exploit weakness not visible at hindsight. Ah Venom, you philosophical legends; always mincing each opportunity once black/speed metal followers crave more sliced items their forefathers impregnated. Welcome to the downfall. Yes, England’s trophy-shiners had much to explain after pathetically clinching “Possessed” into the arms of metal fans, so what’s there to do, huh? Cronos took Abaddon and whoever else was in Venom aside, emphasizing shit needed a makeover, and thus, “Calm before the Storm” popped out, but an issue cancelled its dormancy shortly thereafter: change couldn’t process a hot agenda. A comfortable approach was promised; instead we received irritation. A sign of a once-good band faded away, or some avoidable mistake? That, my friends, is the question.

As inclement weather changes environments, “Calm before the Storm” looks upon Venom for needy alterations; this new frontier, however, acts positive like Hurricane Katrina meeting New Orleans. Newbie Syndrome confines Mykus (Mantas’ sub-par replacement) into generic use of speed riffs done a million times before, with usually just one per song; not to mention his solos are lackluster when stacked against the former guitarist in Venom. Also, who wants mainstream verse-chorus-repeat foundations? Even if you don’t, tough shit. This CD has a golden way of planting bothersome, poppy choruses that consume several anthems entirely, which grows like a weed until you’re flooded by unneeded crap. We’ve got eleven tunes all preaching copied factors, with a dangerous amount lasting under three minutes; of course, practically spelling out how repetitive/bland everything appears. Where’s the progression, intelligence, envelope-pushing, or perhaps, testicles? Another thinker, I guess.

Cronos, too, has taken quite a nasty pinch within these lakes of vocal domination. Aggressive, menacing yelps are out of the picture, and this ironic figure now shouts in cleaner tone that really doesn’t add productivity onto what’s placed atop. Still, his bass looks pretty alright…goddamn it, who made love to the guitar tone? Suddenly, Mykus seems quite feather-like upon viewing the puffier approach this album takes, meaning heavy stuff isn’t really that crushing. I’m wondering if Bon Jovi stole Venom’s identity and produced “Calm before the Storm” for personal chuckles. Any highlights? Read the lyrics to “Muscle,” then come see me.

But seriously, Venom did score a few points throughout this unacceptable effort that are essentially passable towards their glory days. “Calm before the Storm” excels to its highest point on “The Chanting of the Priests;” capturing modernized energy perfectly with those intense riffs equates a total sensation of speed metal chaos. More so, “Black Xmas” and “Metal Punk” flag dying fame as both numbers scorch in the moniker of “Welcome to Hell” rather elegantly, once again toasting your scrotum into yesterday. However, the irony of the first three cuts producing more energy than all others isn’t quite relevant. Ideas ran dry shortly thereafter, so Cronos’ only option was eight charges of filler nobody would dare recall. No wonder time forced Venom’s settle devolution within unmemorable flop after unmemorable flop, eh?

You know, an experiment gone wrong is risky business, because adding that occasional twist will sometimes yield absolute mastery, yet Venom just got confused throughout their ventures: different guitar tones, simplified structures, lighter vocals, and the mainstreamed ideology…just not my Venom. Hell, you won’t ever hear a single note from this thud since the group squared away those needless tampers, so why compute an album of such redundancy anyway? In conclusion, it’s very hard to find, looked down upon, and certainly forgettable, which is constituted throughout “Calm before the Storm” when puncturing each entity it offers. Not something I’m suggesting, unless you REALLY enjoy risking your money for a hit-or-miss effort.

This review was written for: www.leviatan-magazine.com