Venom – Fallen Angels (2011)

“Welcome To Hell”, their 1981’s debut album influenced literally thousands of bands, and while Venom were one of the first incarnations of extreme metal their giving the name of a brand new sub-genre of metal with their 82’s, second album: “Black Metal”. Although lending its name to the latter genre, today the album is often regarded as thrash metal rather than black metal. Venom’s music contributed to shape the style and to the development of many metal bands and numerous bands copying styles, themes and imagery from the band. Although even Metallica had opened for Venom on an early ’80s tour, Venom were regarded by many critics and some metal fans as “a trio of buffoons”, but also they had several conflicts with other musicians. In his Black Flag tour diary, Henry Rollins wrote about a 1986 performance when Black Flag opened for Venom and he mentioned that Venom was hilarious, with mediocre playing. Venom replayed by saying: “his band was useless and that’s why he writes books now”.
As teenager back in the 80’s I was quite fascinated by the epic 20-minute title track of their 1984’s “At War with Satan”, but honestly I never took too seriously their Satanic references. But also I have to admit that I wouldn’t bet back then that in 2011 I will listening – and really like it – a brand new Venom album.

After the 1987’s “Calm Before the Storm”, the band’s fifth album, Conrad “Cronos” Lant left the band, drummer Anthony “Abaddon” Bray remaining the only original member and till 1995, when Lant, Jeffrey “Mantas” Dunn and Bray reunited the “classic” line-up, released several – albums also without any notable success.
“Cast in Stone” was released in 1997, split between new material and re-recordings of popular early-’80s songs. This time Bray left Venom in 1999, while Dunn left again in 2002.
“Cronos” announced in January 2011 that Venom would begin writing new material for their upcoming 13th album. “Fallen Angels” is set to be released by Spinefarm Records/Universal on the 28th of November, 2011. Among “Cromos”, the current line-up consist of guitarist La Rage – guitar (joined in 2007) and drummer Danny “Dante” Needham (joined in 2009).

Tracklist:

01. Hammerhead (5:00)
02. Nemesis (3:07)
03. Pedal To The Metal (3:43)
04. Lap Of The Gods (5:09)
05. Damnation Of Souls (4:30)
06. Beggarman (4:29)
07. Hail Satanas (4:33)
08. Sin (5:33)
09. Punk’s Not Dead (4:10)
10. Death By The Name (3:10)
11. Lest We Forget (2:15)
12. Valley Of The Kings (4:52)
13. Fallen Angels (7:06)

14. Annunaki Legacy (4:24) – (Limited Edition First Pressing bonus track)
15. Blackened Blues (4:52) – (Limited Edition First Pressing bonus track)

And believe it or not, Venom sounds fresh and surprisingly inspired nowadays. “Fallen Angels” is a bloody bold, authentic metal album without being particularly speed, thrash or whatever metal, Venom managed – just as back in the legendary “good old days” – to merge genres and styles, delivering a breathing mixture of metal, punk and rock, being fresh with a kind of charming retro taste.
From classy grindings such as “Pedal To The Metal” to the raging “Punk’s Not Dead” or the anthematic “Hail Satanas” or the killer “Hammerhead” and the epic “Fallen Angels”, Venom probably delivered their best album in decades.

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