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Walk through the passages of endless nights - 86%

Felix 1666, August 17th, 2014
Written based on this version: 1992, CD, Under One Flag

I very much regret this, Cronos, but I have to tell you something: I really enjoy the Venom albums that feature your temporary successor, "The Demolition Man" Tony Dolan. If he would have been the original vocalist of the British black metal pioneers, I would certainly prefer his voice, although I like the unconventional vocals of Cronos, too. But so I am undecided. However, the main reason why I appreciate relatively unknown albums like "The Waste Lands" is definitely the music as a whole. The strong vocal performance is just one component of this.

In view of their early outputs, Venom were hardly recognizable anymore. Black metal was no longer on the agenda. The songs tended towards the dark side of thrash metal without neglecting atmospheric moments. Apart from that, the pieces offered a different songwriting formula due to their clearly designed structure. The chaotic times were gone. This development led among others to the fact that they had recruited a keyboarder for this album. Yes, you have read it correctly, a keyboarder. This guy got to work immediately. He was responsible for the intro of the opener which was a prime example for their compositional approach during that period. Feeble tones that seemingly came from beyond led to a fairly oriental riff. It matched with the lyrics about ancient Arabian kings in a masterful manner. The feeling of being lost in the desert was intensified by the instrumental part after the second chorus. Once again, our friend on keyboards took the lead...although this opener was not very harsh, it constituted a good start, but it was surpassed by the following three crushing tracks. Venom, in particular Abaddon, pressed the pedal to the metal while the guitarists presented riffs that were without exception excellent. The catchy choruses did the rest. Even after more than 20 years, this amazing triple strike gets my blood racing. The outstanding compositions sound still fresh. If the band had put these songs on a 12", this single would have deserved a rating of 100 percent, at least in my opinion. But as you may have guessed, the following tunes did not achieve this ultimate level. "Wolverine" came closest to these three highlights. It thrived on a belligerent attitude due to its aggressive riffing.

For the full picture, two further songs have to be mentioned. They presented Venom from quite a different aspect. The craggy "Need to Kill" was dominated by very catchy drums and its rhythmical drawn-out outro sounded like it had been recorded in a metalworking company. However, this industrialized approach remained an isolated case. Even more astonishing was the final number of this full-length. The lyrics of "Clarisse" referred to the novel "The Silence of the Lambs" which was written by Thomas Harris. The composition itself proved to be a ballad with a subliminal psychotic approach. It is not among my favourite pieces, but at the same time it was a successful experiment. It seemed like Venom greatly enjoyed playing with the expectations of their fans. This already started with the cover. Just have a look at the colouring, the motif and the design. The minimalistic booklet admitted also no conclusions on the style of the music. Unfortunately, the band used a very ordinary band logo for the first and final time, but this was only a blemish. However, all that remained irrelevant due to the fact that the songs were successfully performed and the album was expertly produced. My advise is that fans of authentic, darkened thrash metal should spend some time listening to this record. You will not miss Cronos.