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Venom - From the Very Depths - 40%

ThrashManiacAYD, January 26th, 2015

Is there actually any point in Venom releasing new albums these days? If any metal band should never be able to exist outside of a certain realm it is these Geordie demigods circa 1981-84. A very long time ago of course, and with now 11 albums following that classic opening triumvirate they have never gotten close to releasing anything even 1% as relevant since, a fact that doesn’t change with "From the Very Depths”. It is commonly accepted from open-minded music fans that all bands should be allowed to mature and develop as they please. That is wrong; Venom just cannot.

After all then it is somewhat ironic that "From the Very Depths" rarely sounds like the Venom I, and most likely the overwhelming percentage of metalheads, know and love. There is simplified aggression aplenty throughout the fourteen tracks, but dip in at any point and you will find overwrought chugging lacking any sense of purpose or value; hardly a surprise given the career trajectory of Venom since their all conquering output in the early 80s. My first full listen was especially disappointing as track after track washed by with little to savour, nor anything of notoriety being expended by the trio that is now rounded out by guitarist Rage and drummer Danté. Subsequent listens have raised my overall impressions from the very depths yet I can just hardly find the reasoning to implore this on any metal fan searching for the best of the underground.

At times sounding like fellow luminaries Discharge ("Long Haired Punks”), often like latter Testament material, notably in Cronos’ bellowing roar being strangely akin to Chuck Billy ("Evil Law”, "Grinding Teeth”, "Rise"), and frequently like a modern day version of Carnivore, it all feels far too safe in execution. While Rage can lay claim to a few decent solos spread liberally across the album, there is more to lament than the inevitable loss of unrestrained evil that defines their early era as at so few points do I feel the band are stretching themselves in the song-writing department. In small doses the punky spirit of "The Death of Rock N Roll" is acceptable enough or the crunchy dynamics of "Stigmata Satanas" and "Crucified" would pass master if one is after this kind of simple, bass-driven riffage, but these belie an acceptance of mid-level mediocrity one would expect to hear from a young, local support act. This facet is joined at the gallows by a lyrical performance in which most choruses are spent regurgitating the track title over and over; although having never been a band for whom one studies the lyrics maybe we are wise to forget this?

Venom will roll on regardless of the success of "From the Very Depths", sitting near the top of any festival line-up they approach as no amount of replay of "Welcome to Hell" and "Black Metal" material shall ever suffice metaldom. But don’t expect to get too worked up over this latest offering as its bland ideas and derivative songs are what I would more commonly expect from a band starting out today, not a band who predate extreme metal.

Originally written for Rockfreaks.net