Live Reviews

Venom Live

Mean Fiddler,

You’ve got to hand it to Cronos, he’s done a fantastic job of re-creating the classic Venom sound. Even without the original line-up, new members Antton and Mykvs manage to effortlessly sound as inept and unsophisticated as the classic Venom line up with Mantis and Abaddon. And if you think this is a criticism, then you’re missing the point.

What made Venom so special was their inability to really play their instruments, discarding technical proficiency in favour of hitting their instruments as hard as humanly possible to make the most horribly heavy and brutal noise they possibly could. Totally punk in spirit, they were a world away from the over-complicated riffing of much metal and created a sonic sludgy noise that was heavier than anything that had come before it. Combine this with an over-the-top obsession with the occult and you’ve got yourself one hell of a band!

Venom haven’t played live for nearly fifteen years and fans both old and new have gathered with expectations and excitement high. Kick-starting their set with the genre-defining ‘Black Metal’ (they end their set with ‘Metal Black’, the title track from their new album. If that’s not genius, then what is?), Venom are instantly brilliant. Cronos’ hair-line may have retreated somewhat, but little else has changed. He’s still a gurning lunatic, belting out the ludicrous lyrics as he hammers his bass as if his fingers were made of hammers. Still utterly simplistic and stripped-down, they make a truly disgusting sound that at times is devoid of all melody and utterly atonal, going for the throat on power alone.

While it would be impossible for the band to please everyone with their set-list, they cram about half of the new album into their set, meaning that many old classics don’t get an airing. We do, however, get treated to rabid blasts through ‘Countess Bathory‘, ‘Die Hard‘ and a raging ‘Witching Hour‘ as they hurtle to the end of the set. Finished by 9.30pm (hardly witching hour!) to make way for the venue’s clubnight, Venom threaten to keep playing. ‘Let’s lock everyone in the venue and play every album,’ screams Cronos. And while we all love Venom, playing every album back-to-back could be over doing it somewhat! What Venom do works in short, sharp shocks and tonight they were as outrageous as ever.

James Sherry

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