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You will confess - 87%

Felix 1666, February 19th, 2015
Written based on this version: 2015, CD, Spinefarm Records U.K.

Of course, there is no need to introduce Venom. The glorious early works of the band have left their mark until today. Thousands of line-up changes destroyed the magic of the British legend as well as lukewarm releases. I am not telling you something new when I say that the band is based upon the fame of days gone by. But Venom is always good for a surprise. Against all odds, the three-piece tries to impress us with a new studio album and yes, from my point of view, the old veteran Cronos and his comrades-in-arms are at least partly successful. They reach a remarkable hit rate while delivering ten good or even excellent numbers. Only the two relatively useless intros, the third title and the final track are more or less significantly weaker.

The Demolition Man, the temporary lead vocalist, performed powerfully. But Cronos shows on "From the Very Depths" once again that his rancid voice has its own charm. With the right portion of fury, his demonic approach is still absolutely convincing. Moreover, his vocal lines shape some sections of the album in an impressive way. For example, I refer to the verses of "Smoke". They thrive on his crude yet appropriate performance. No question that Cronos has not forgotten how to spell the words "Black" and "Metal", although the album cannot be described as a pure black metal record. The average velocity is surprisingly slow and the music combines again dirty thrash elements with gloomy parts. While finding the right balance between these ingredients, the band creates an atmosphere of uneasiness. Fortunately, the modern yet rumbling sound does not lack of vehemence. The bass of Cronos resists the powerful guitar successfully while setting its own accents. No instrument has received preferential treatment from Cronos who also produced the album. Quite the opposite, he did a great job. The mighty drums emphasize this statement.

Let´s concentrate on the songs themselves while neglecting the intro that adds no value to the full-length. Already the title track attacks you with its intensive and original guitar lines. The song sets the bar high, but the group tries its best to fulfill the increased expectations. Inter alia, the band scores with a more or less diversified song material. I recommend to compare the haunting "Smoke" (its beginning reminds me a bit of "Mystique" from "Possessed") with the following "Temptation" which is based on double-bass drums and massive guitar chords. The different compositional approaches become quite clear, but that´s not all. The next track ("Long Haired Punk") focuses on speed while demonstrating Venom´s joy of playing. This series could easily be continued, but I guess that I am at risk to write a track-by-track review... Thus, let me try to describe it differently. Without delivering exclusively future classics, "From the Very Depths" avoids fillers. There is a mostly simple but good idea behind almost each and every track. Although the pieces offer a wide range of various currents, the band scores with an homogeneous output. I admit that I am surprised by the overall quality of the full-length. Honestly, I would have been satisfied with a 70% album after ambivalent records such as "Metal Black".

The compact album does not appear as the work of battle-weary metal soldiers. The riffs are effective and heavy, the rhythmic approach is not too simple and songs like the monstrous "Evil Law" do not lack of depth. The modern Venom sound like a band which grows old with dignity. Okay, some of the lyrics have been obviously written under the influence of drugs. I have no other explanation for nonsensical lines such as "We´re killing Kid Creole". Nevertheless, my conclusion is that this is the best output under the banner of Venom since "The Waste Lands", at least if it stands the test of time. But even if that is not the case, "From the Very Depths" enriches the discography of a legend and whets the appetite for more. If you are still uncertain about the album´s quality, just listen to late highlights like "Mephistopheles" and "Wings of Valkyrie". (As a marginal note, the latter one offers a short German line "eins, zwei, drei, vier". It goes without saying that I like it...) Thumbs up for an unfussy and authentic full-length, although the band´s classics like "At War with Satan" are out of reach.