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Electric orgy spells are cast - 75%

Felix 1666, June 14th, 2015
Written based on this version: 1997, 2CD, Steamhammer (Limited edition)

Venom is one of the bands that accompanies me since my puberty. As in a marriage, we have shared our passion for metal in good times and in bad. Well, the band did not take notice of this situation. But I did. And back in 1997, I was curious about their reunion album. But frankly speaking, "Cast in Stone" did not blow me away. I freely admit that it delivered an appropriate degree of heaviness and the compositions offered a fairly broad range of song patterns. In this context, the relatively epic "Destroyed & Damned" stood out. It was slow and tried to generate a desperate mood. Its most surprising feature was marked by the vocals of Cronos. He sounded like the singer of this permanently unsuccessful group called Metallica. Nevertheless, an interesting piece. But this tune could not hide the fact that the albumĀ“s overall impression was good yet slightly unspectacular. Its carefully constructed songs were unable to compensate for the lack of creative unpredictability. Well, I do not want to criticize the output too harshly. To be more accurate, let me say that the once fascinating combination of immorality and insanity did not reappear. Songs like "Red Light Fever" or "TeacherĀ“s Pet" were unthinkable. To end on a poetic note, Venom had lost its soul.

As mentioned above, the album proved that Venom was still interested in making noise. It was just problematic that Cronos and his two comrades - or should I say "business partners" - tried to impress with a voluminous work. Venom unloaded 14 songs in order to make clear that they had great ambitions, but the high degree of quantity could not offset the partial lack of quality. After a good start with songs like the powering "All Devils Eve", the fast-paced "Raised in Hell" and the well-accentuated "Domus Mundi" with its tribal drums at the beginning, some tracks lacked of memorable parts. "Flight of the Hydra" springs to my mind in this context. It had nothing to offer but the recycled riff of "Bloodlust" and stupidly hammering drums. However, the band bundled its forces so that, for example, the vocals of Cronos did not lack of variety or expressiveness. Yet it became apparent that the original three-piece did no longer possess the former chemistry. Additionally, the previous euphoria did not show up. "Cast in Stone" was the result of an experienced band that made a good job. In terms of heaviness, it was in line with expectations. But I would like to emphasize once again that one could discuss whether it was suitable to revitalize the glorious name "Venom". From a present-day perspective, it seems to be a logical development that this album remained the last work of Mantas, Abaddon and Cronos.

While having an eye on a contemporary production, Venom ensured a powerful appearance of "Cast in Stone". I guess that there was no alternative to this decision, even though this sound did not evoke associations with their classic works. You cannot have everything. When leaving the early albums out of consideration, the production earned recognition. Due to its highlights and the appropriate sound, the full-length had the potential for a rating of 85 percent. Unfortunately, Venom lacked of courage so that they recorded songs like "Judgement Day" instead of dropping them in order to shorten and solidify the result. This sin of omission could not be compensated, neither by the highlights of the regular album nor by the songs of the bonus disc. It offered a relatively crude mix of classics and the exclusive (and not very exciting) mid-paced band anthem "Venom" which was previously only performed on stage. But anyway, the positive aspects of "Cast in Stone" prevailed. It deserves to be heard.