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M:Pire of Evil > Crucified > Reviews
M:Pire of Evil - Crucified

Thawed From Temples of Ice - 63%

GuntherTheUndying, May 22nd, 2019

"Crucified" is mostly a covers album of Venom material released during Tony Dolan's stint as Venom's bassist and vocalist. M-pire of Evil, of course, features Dolan and Mantas working together again for the first time since Dolan's chapter in Venom came to a close. Although buried by time and dust, I think quite fondly of all three albums of the Dolan era, and was glad to see their creators give these songs another round. They are solid albums, and since M-pire of Evil churned out a record called "Hell to the Holy," which, ironically, has a lot more beef and quality than any Venom record released in the last decade, it was enough to make "Crucified" worth a glance. Without missing a beat, the grisly thrash blueprint in "Hell to the Holy" engulfs this tribute to a trio of Venom albums left rotting in obscurity.

You should know what to expect based on that description alone; this is a Venom offshoot covering an obscure incarnation of Venom. Predictably, "Crucified" offers little in the way of surprises. They trim off a few minutes of "Temples of Ice," not that it makes a noticeable difference. There are probably more differences between tracks, but I'm on my eighth beer and can't be arsed to delve deeper. This also has two thrashy originals after the nine Venom covers. They are standard fare from the M-pire of Evil machine: brutal and scorching, if not inconsequential compared to their surroundings. It is impossible not to compare this to the original tracks, obviously, and while "Crucified" is satisfying, the charm of the originals is mostly absent. These songs are heavier and chaotic, but little occurs to boost these cuts up to their originals. The infatuation wears off after a few listens, and I found myself going back to the Dolan-era albums instead.

The sound quality of the originals is organic and lively, whereas the rough-riding edge is dulled a bit by the glimmer of a modern, dime-a-dozen production job. "Crucified" does not sound lacking despite this, however, as there is plenty of bite in the guitar tone and hammering percussion to puncture the skin. I listened to "The Waste Lands" after spinning "Crucified," and yeah, the differences in sound quality are glaring. The tracklist is a little perplexing, though. Not bad overall, but lacking compared to those left behind. I think leaving out "Cursed," "Paralyzed," and "Riddle of Steel" from "The Waste Lands" and underrepresenting "Temples of Ice" could have affected the album's quality, but that's just me. Then again, these are all deep cuts, so there are few classics from which to choose. Remember: eight beers deep.

There is leeway to give for releasing what is a glorified covers album. Not many of these songs have been heard or experienced by most, including the semi-seasoned Venom fan. It passes on the merits of what I call The Satan's Host Effect: the novelty of the originals is not tarnished if most listeners have not heard them to begin with. Regardless, "Crucified" sounds ravenous and metallic, which ultimately earns it a pass. I have no idea what M-pire of Evil is up to these days now that its members have doubled down on another Venom-related project (Venom Inc.) that revels in a full-fledged Venom assault beyond the Dolan era. Confusing as it is, "Crucified" isn't all that shabby paying tribute to Venom's lost years, although the original albums are worth hunting down, more so than "Crucified" itself. Fringe Venom fans might find this enriching despite its shortcomings, however.

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