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You're Going Straight To HEELLLLLL!!! - 85%

Metal_Jaw, October 10th, 2011

To quote the mighty Cronos: "BWAA-HAHAHAHA!"

2008's "Hell" may be not an instant Venom classic, but the devil be damned if it still ain't one hell of a ride. The overall sound and production is a bit cleaner than their previous effort, 2006's very slightly superior "Metal Black", but not quite as polished as say "Resurrection". The listener is either gonna love or hate this; personally, it doesn't bother me since most of what's presented here is total kickassery! Cronos' vox are just as mean as ever, maybe even more than so than before that the youthfulness has left his voice, allowing for a more evil, gravelly performance. His bass too is quite good, but again not quite as crushing as his work on "Metal Black". Still, a number of beastly riffs are unchained here, annihilating the listener with catchiness and the band's trademark rawness.

Joining Cronos on this ride to "Hell" are his younger brother Antton Lant on drums and "Rage" on guitars. Antton totally kicks here, but yet again is just not quite as good as his work on the group's last album. Still, he pounds those skins into molten mush, rattling your mortal brain in the process. Rage, on the other hand, is arguably the highlight of this album. This guy fucking shreds like NOBODY'S business; definitely 666 steps above many of the band's previous guitarists, save maybe for the mighty Mantas.

My main gripe with this album is the songs themselves, and how many there are. Seriously, thirteen? I mean that may not be a lot to some, but a metal album with over 10 or 11 songs tends to get repetitive and lost in itself, allowing for those dreaded fillers. That's what happened, to a somewhat worse extent, on "Metal Black", and occurs here too. "Dirge/Awakening" is an instrumental piece that ends the album, and could have easily have been excised due to its short length and lack of any really memorable moments, save for its speaker-blasting opening. Other songs like "Blood Sky", "Stab U In The Back", or the silly "Kill The Music" just sort of make the album longer. They don't particularly stand out and are forgotten almost right after the initial listen. Some songs however more than make up for the few shortcomings. "Straight To Hell" is one HELL (I'm sorry) of an opener, with Cronos' growling shouts and cruel laughing; Rage's amazing shredding are a highlight of this fist-pumping rocker as well. The awesome "Evilution Devilution" comes too late in the album in my opinion; very memorable thanks to thumping guitarwork and a simple but catchy chorus. "Hand Of God" is another thundering number, with some of Antton's strongest drumming and a vicious riff. But arguably the highlight here is the apocalyptic title track. Not only is it memorable thanks to a PAIR of catchy, galloping riffs, but the whole crew shines here. Cronos' bass is positively soul-smashing, Rage's brutal guitar shreds flesh, and Antton's drumming will turn your skull to dust, all with "Evil Perfection".

Overall, the album comes a bit short thanks some repetitivity and an occasionally too-clean sound, but the current trio still smashes mortal souls here with heaviness, catchiness and raw, evil power in a number of the tracks.