2014’s Decensus was a record which nearly failed to happen at all. A year beforehand …
Venom Inc, like Entombed A.D. and several “classic band lite” knockoffs, isn’t 100% Venom. It’s made from imported ingredients and assembled at home. Venom alumni Mantas (guitars) and Tony “Demolition Man” Dolan (vocals) recruited ex-Venom drummer Abbadon and decided to form a not-quite-Venom. It’s like if I started my own University, called it University, Inc. and justified it because I was once part of it. I mean, really?
Anyway, Tony’s vox sounds weathered as ever. It’s crossed between the pack-a-day throat of Matt Pike (High on Fire) and ‘probably tipsy’ delivery of Lee Dorrian (Cathedral.) First track Ave Satanas is so fucking boring it shouldn’t warrant a mention. If you drift off, Forged In Hell’s drum barrage frightens the waking world into you. This is the Venom (Inc) we’ve been waiting eight minutes and thirty-three seconds for. It’s pure NWOBHM by way of Dio-era Sabbath worship, and guitars spit fire at the same rate as Dolan.
[This band’s] obvious strengths are getting angry, bashing shit, and doing it all as fast as fucking possible.
Metal We Bleed races along at blistering clip, a big nod to Venom’s speed metal origins. It slows right down to campy, creepy as fuck Cradle of Filthisms on Dein Fleisch and Blood Stained. Why? It’s two obvious missteps by a band who’s obvious strengths are getting angry, bashing shit, and doing it all as fast as fucking possible.
When they mix-n’-match epic Iron Maiden storytelling and Accept style riff crunching (The Evil Dead), the result is stellar. When they ease the foot off the throttle, it’s less than. Preacher Man is saved (lol) by a wicked sick psychedelic solo, while manic-thrasher War’s lyrics are 70% “WAAAAAAAAAAAAAR” but it’s 100% metal brilliance.
The link between Venom, Inc. and Venom is, well, tenuous at best. But at these low low Venom-outlet store prices, who’s complaining?
STANDOUT TRACKS: Forged In Hell, Metal We Bleed, War
STICK THIS NEXT TO: Black Sabbath (Dio Era), Accept, Sodom