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Nice brutal reunion - 84%

sepultribe, April 26th, 2005

Well they got back together, the classic lineup, and put together 14 songs for Cast in Stone. Now I always get a bad impression when a metal band has more than 10 songs, because that usually means filler. Well I was right to think that. But they sure did put out some good material for once since ’85. This isn’t the thrashy Venom like back in the day. This is a tad bit slower more brutal riffage. Normally I would be like “Great they’ve slowed down like all the others, its probably shit” but I gave it a chance and I don’t regret it. There are still some fast thrashers like “Raised in Hell” and “Flight of the Hydra.” But the majority is crushing metal that’s definitely far from the black metal label they got tagged with. Is this really the same production team as back in the day for Welcome to Hell?? This production sounds awesome. The sound is mammoth like and so is the song writing. But another thing redeemable about the album is its diversity.

Right from the beginning that guitar opening just reels you in for a 3 minute midtempo crusher. Evil One pretty much gives you a definite feel for the album. Other midtempo ones are Destroyed and Damned, Bleeding, and Kings of Evil. Bleeding goes in between slow verses (“Bleeeeeeeeeeding”) to faster sections, both of which have great riffs. Destroyed and Damned starts out….. quite odd. It has some emotive guitar work with a somber spoken part. It seems almost like a depressive ballad until about 2 minutes into it and it becomes an extremely heavy slow song.

Kings of Evil starts out with just Cronos playing a little rhythm on bass then adds vicious vocals. After a while the rest of the band joins in with an unholy high scream. It picks up the pace with the chorus but gets kind of boring. A couple of the best songs are the faster ones Raised in Hell, and Flight of the Hydra. Raised in Hell just slaps you in the face after Evil One and leaves you breathless afterwards. Flight of the Hydra starts out with cool guitar work and then goes into a very fast part chaotic part, also a great chorus. Highlight of the album.

Now with the good comes the mediocre… and sometimes shit. Like Swarm. Honestly this is one horrible attempt at atmosphere with stupid electronics thrown in. Domus Mundi also starts out with some sequenced sample of percussion. Gods Forsaken, Mortals, and Your All Gonna Die are all forgettable and could have been left out. So it could have been an awesome 9 song album but this is forgivable to an extent.

Well that was a trip… wait a sec there’s a whole second disc. The second disc is a collection of lesser known Venom classics redone in the studio. It starts out with their opener “Ladies and Gentlemen, from the very depths of Hell… VENOM!!!” and then goes into a very nicely done version of Bloodlust. They go through some other good songs like Acid Queen, Warhead, Manitou, and Venom. They songs pretty much remain the same except with definitely better production.

I wouldn’t recommend Cast in Stone to anybody wanting to get into Venom. This is mainly for Venom fans but it’s a very nice deal, with the added second disk and a nice package including a mini poster, pentagram and all. Highlights are Evil One, Raised in Hell, Bleeding, and Flight of the Hyrda. Venom fans rejoice.