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There's an awful lot of shoddily botched together Venom live material kicking around these days, but this album is the definitive one. 20 tracks of thunderous, light-speed, old-school metal action to put a few extra holes in your skull. It makes 'No Sleep 'til Hammersmith' sound like Mozart - whose work, incidentally, provides the title for this record. So, to recap: Venom is not Mozart, neither is this album, but Motorhead is. Confused? Do try to keep up.
No; Cronos, Mantas and Abaddon were never known for their subtlety or their technical prowess (except maybe Mantas, who is a righteous shredder however you slice it). What they were known for was their spiritedly thuggish crash-bang-wallop approach to this fine art we now call extreme metal.
Alas, I am too young to have witnessed the unholy classic line-up live in their prime, but this album paints a pretty vivid picture. What it lacks in the production and technique departments, it more than makes up for with atmosphere and enough energy to launch your sorry arse into space. Everything is a gloriously chaotic racket; 'Black Metal' and 'Schizo' speed along like run-away trains; 'In Nomine Satanas' and 'Warhead' get the heads banging with their hefty Sabbathesque riffage; 'Countess Bathory' and 'Nightmare' dig those hooks in and refuse to let go until you're screaming along with Cronos' wretched snarl. Hell, even tracks from the band's less-celebrated albums like 'Possessed' and 'Calm Before the Storm' are brilliant, sounding like they've had a few tonnes of dynamite inserted into their backsides.
While this is all well and good, I must take a step back here; I have a tendency to be biased when dealing with Venom, but I'm not so blinkered that I am unable to spot flaws in a product. And 'Eine Kleine Nachtmusik', for all its charm, is a flawed product. First of all, the bass and guitar solos are pretty useless. I would've understood if this was a complete, uncut live show; in that case, deleting the solos would've interrupted the flow and killed the atmosphere. However, this album is full of cuts, fade-ins and fade-outs, like they were so desperate to fit more music on here that they decided to trim as much of the stage banter as possible. While nothing is wrong with this approach, one wonders if the solos could not have been cut then, too? They offer very little in entertainment value after the first listen, and I always find myself skipping them.
Second, while I did point out earlier that Venom were not famous for being virtuoso musicians, there are moments on this record when they really do sound like a bunch of amateurs. Especially on the ultra-fast renditions of 'Black Metal', 'Bloodlust', 'Satanarchist' and the like, things get very messy. While I find the haphazard performances add realism and charm, others will probably not. One can either say "but it's Venom, F.O.A.D!", or one can accept that some people are more tolerant of desperate fumbling on live tracks than others. While my heart says the former, my brain is saying the latter.
All in all then, a flawed but still mighty entertaining live album. There are plenty of better ones - Exodus' 'Another Lesson in Violence', the aforementioned 'No Sleep 'til Hammersmith' and any post-'Brave New World' Maiden live releases, to name a few - but this is Venom, and this is their best one. I'm sure, with modern technology and the superior musicianship of the current line-up, Venom in 2012 could put out a better played and better produced record. Whether it would have the spirit and energy of 'Eine Kleine Nachtmusik' though, is questionable. Just leave out the solos next time, Venom!
Well folks, the double Venom LP of a lifetime. Two CD’s filled to the brim with well-recorded (yet shoddily mastered) tracks spanning the first wave of blasting Venom. This record is taken from two shows (the Hammersmith Odeon show from 1985 and the New York Ritz show from 1986) and represents Black Metal's first master-blasters quite well.
The first disc is the stronger of the two (featuring a better recording and better mastering) with it’s blasting renditions of “The 7 Gates of Hell”, “Leave me in Hell”, “Nightmare”, the classic “Countess Bathory” and a SLAYING “Die Hard”. Only the track “Too Loud for the Crowd” leaves me feeling less than unholy. Each song shows the classic Venom sound (best described as Black Sabbath meets Judas Priest's guitar wanderings meets a jackhammer being channeled through the blood gargle of Motorhead) in fine form with even drummer Abaddon holding his own with the solid and aggressive playing. (Which...can be rare for the man if you've heard enough recordings.)
Disc two has some burning moments but unfortunately features many songs that do not show the band at an artistic peak. The classic tracks such as “Black Metal” (a WRECKING ball version), “Bloodlust”, “Warhead” and “The Chanting of the Priests” all blast out like firebombs let loose in Times Square...but the remaining tracks such as “Satanachist”, “Fly Trap” and “Love Amongst the Dead” all seem to fade in comparison to the joys of disc one.
Yes! One just can't have enough fucking Venom! After spitting out their previous four abominations, they went and did the obligatory live album, and came out of the test brilliantly!
This slab of live blasphemy offers not one, but TWO shows: Hammersmith 1985 and New York 1986. I can't say which one is better since they both kick ass! The Hammersmith show is more dense in classics, though, incredible performances of "7 Gates of Hell" (one of the greatest Venom songs, hands down), "Leave me in Hell", "Schizo" and "Witching Hour". New York has the obligatory "Black Metal", "Welcome to Hell", "Bloodlust", "Warhead" and "The Chanting of the Priests". I know, not exactly a Venom classic, and is so incredibly cheesy (in 80s metal comparative terms) that it works in a bizarre way. Why is that? Oh I know, 'cause classic 80s heavy metal owns pretty much every single thing in the universe (give or take a few million light years).
Every song is played a lot faster than the originals, and the overall sound is great by thrash-heads standards. This means, no cristal clear bullshit production, just pure distortion, bulldozer rattling, warheads falling from the skyes, aaaarrrgghhhh....The live presence of the guys is noteworthy, this band really knew how to steal the show and prove that it's not a necessity to be kvlt enough to play no more than two shows in your entire carreer to blast some black metal into an audience. This record takes the best of the feel of classic live albums like Unleashed in the East and No Sleep 'till Hammersmith and give it a truly raw and evil twist.
Needless to say that if you like Venom you need this. Is also needless to say what I think of you if you're not a Venom fan.