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Across infernal wastelands - 61%

Felix 1666, July 5th, 2014
Written based on this version: 1984, 7" vinyl, Neat Records

After the extraordinary "At War with Satan", Venom had seemingly found a liking in exceptional songs. In any case, they released a very unusual piece that still remains unique to this day. "Manitou" did not have these more or less satanic lyrics what they were known for. But what counts above all is that the musical approach differed strongly from their previous efforts. The verses were only based on the voice of Cronos, supported by a very simple drumming. (Fortunately, Sepultura were still unknown and had not yet invented the nerve-shattering tribal drumming.) The guitars merely appeared at the fairly melodious chorus. Cronos just repeatedly sang "Manitou" while Mantas played an epic and memorable guitar line. It may sound crazy, but the sublime melody gave you the feeling of riding freely through the prairie. Last but not least, Abaddon contributed a simple beat that was partly provided with discreet double bass drums. To put in plainly, "Manitou" was absolutely fantastic, not only because of its Indian flair. However, regrettably, this was not the only song on this record.

Referring to the 12" version, two pieces adorned the B-Side. Unfortunately, the "B" stands for "bad". To be honest, you do not need to memorize the song titles. Both tracks went almost unnoticed due to their mediocre riffs, amateurish solos, irrelevant chorusses and fairly chaotic structures. Well, I must admit that it requires courage to speak of "structure". It is therefore evident that these ill-conceived eruptions did not have the quality to be published on a regular studio album and they never played an important role in the creative output of Venom. This does, however, not change the fact that you have to listen to the title track if you want to know the most spiritual tune of the chaotic gang. With regard to the early years of Venom, "Manitou" was a successful experiment and their last song that could be described as outstanding - and this applied also to the well selected cover motif.