Venom Inc.

Avé

Written by: MAK on 22/11/2017 12:56:08

There may be some confusion in the air about Venom Inc. — especially as the original Venom is still active. To clear things up, Venom Inc. consists of Jeffrey ‘Mantas’ Dunn and Anthony ‘Abaddon’ Bray, two of the three founding members of the original Venom, along with another former member, Tony ‘Demolition Man’ Dolan on bass and vocals. This trio started performing together in early 2015, more as a celebration of the early Venom tracks that they used to play and really just a bit of fun that then escalated into receiving a mass array of booking requests. “The whole reason we call it Venom Inc. is so that people realize we aren't just Venom II or anything like that,” says Dolan. “We’re incorporating everything we do in our music including our Venom history, and that’s the idea behind the band." The metal legends have toured the world under this new name, unleashing decades worth of material onto the masses and have since signed a deal with Nuclear Blast Records to release their first album, “Avé”.

What we get from “Avé” is proper old-school heavy metal that makes a nod toward Venom’s earlier dabbling with speed metal, while incorporating influences of death, thrash and black metal into the mix as well. “Ave Satanas” kicks off with some crunchy, grooving riffs that back up Dolan’s brutishly shouted vocals. The opener has a steady tempo, almost plodding along, which only makes the heaviness feel more menacing — especially with some demonic voice samples played over the top. Mantas shows off his impressive fretwork early on with a lengthy guitar solo that expresses whines and plucky intricacy. It’s a pure headbanger and a rather extensive one at that — it’s been a while since I’ve heard an opening song last for eight minutes.

Tracks such as “Forged in Hell”, “Metal We Bleed” and “Time to Die” are rather more up-tempo and aggressive in comparison. The riffs are of a more shredding style, the vocals feel like they have more energy and intensity to them, and the drum work is relentless, with double pedal waves attacking your ears. It feels very ‘80s thrash-influenced, very much in the vein of Sodom. What helps is that these faster, belligerent numbers stand out compared to the darker, steadier tracks such as “Dein Fleisch” that focus on mood-setting rather than pit-starting. That makes them no less heavy — there is just a sinister tone that lingers in the way the vocals are delivered during the verse, and how the guitars go from headbanging fury to a creepy, melodic undertone. The lyrics focus on hidden, dark desires, and fit perfectly with the music.

“Avé” feels like it has a real blend of metal's ‘80s and ‘90s era styles, becoming particularly clear via the groove/thrash metal combo in a track like “War”. It sounds like Pantera-meets-Metallica, as if the band had put Phil Anselmo’s antagonistic shouts on top of James Hetfield’s monster riffage. However, in retrospect, it’s more likely that Venom would have been influential to both of those bands. There is the right amount of aggression, intensity, and balance of high energy and toned-down segments to make the songs that comprise “Avé” stand out from others and the album flows really well. I’m not overly familiar with Venom other than their greatest hits, but it feels like Venom Inc. have a tad more bite and flexibility in terms of the various musical styles found in the metal realms.

Download: War, Metal We Bleed, Time to Die, Dein Fleisch
For the fans of: Motörhead, Pantera, Sodom, Venom
Listen: Facebook

Release date 11.08.2017
Nuclear Blast Records

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