One third of this iteration of Venom is the only original member left after all kinds of legal deputes have separated the camps into Venom Inc and Venom respectively.
Cronos the bassist/vocalist is the mainstay here, whilst also being the face of Venom for the majority of the band’s existence since their inception in the late 1970s, with a short break in the 90s. This is the third album with the current group of Rage on guitar and Dante on drums behind Cronos as they head towards 10 years together, this album is more about looking back on past glories than looking for new musical terrain.
Brimming with the early punk energy that Venom took and made their own way back when, ‘Bring Out Your Dead’ opens with the perfect balance of stomp and unsophisticated early black metal created in a time long since passed. This flows seamlessly into rather dirgey ‘Notorious’, the first sign that the biggest let down on this album is the at-times muddy production and guitar playing that has either been badly cut and pasted during recording or is just very sloppy.
This production is an attempt to recreate a time that cannot be recreated because the band just isn’t the same, hampering what would be a decent album of NWOHBHM if it was clearer. ‘I Dark Lord’ has a great roll on the kick drums but due to the muddy sound it overpowers Cronos’ usually easy-to-decipher croak.
Of course this doesn’t make the album all bad. There are moments of gold such as the solo toward the end of ‘100 Miles to Hell’ where Rage is allowed to let his guitar breathe. This leads towards the middle of the album where usually a band hides their lesser quality tracks. Not Venom, here is where the best stuff is. They make you work hard through the muddy production and badly cut guitar, but from those ashes rise ‘Dark Night (of the Soul)’ the cheese of ‘Beaten to a Pulp’ and ‘The Mighty Have Fallen’ that show all the class and pace that the band is capable of, whilst managing to slice through the dense muddy production and present them as many remember.
There will be no convincing a dyed in the wool fan of Venom that this album could have been better, but if you are new to them, start earlier when the band’s fire felt more genuine and less caricature. If you want new Venom, best head for Venom Inc.
- Bring Out Your Dead
- I Dark Lord
- 100 Miles to Hell
- Dark Night (of the Soul)
- Beaten To A Pulp
- The Mighty Have Fallen
- Over My Dead Body
- Suffering Dictates
- We the Loud
- Storm the Gates