With 2019 being the 40th anniversary of Venom, it’s well worth noting that it’s also the 10th anniversary of the band’s current line-up of Cronos (vocals and bass), Rage (guitar) and Dante (drums). Their recently released ‘Storm The Gates’ album is the band’s fifteenth to be bursting out with metal of the non-more black variety and thanks to a huge (very limited edition) Venom LP box set and 2 disc career retrospective being on the fire stoked horizon Spinefarm Records are giving this 13 tracker another push right now, which is great for me as this release somehow totally passed me by when it originally hit the shelves back in January of this year.
Which is something I can’t help but feel a bit annoyed with myself about really, simply because Venom are a band that not only reinvented heavy metal but also birthed a bazillion other subgenres, so why aren’t they lauded as all-conquering heroes and afforded multiple page tributes by the metal press like Motorhead always were every time they release a new record…and I then don’t end up missing them?”
Now there’s some food for thought eh?
In fact that Motorhead parallel is even more prevalent once you get to hear ‘Storm The Gates’ because just like what Lemmy did with the Mikkey and Phil line up, Cronos and Venom are doing pretty much the same here, by making some of the best full throttle black metal rackets they have made since their early to mid ‘80s heyday.
Opener ‘Bring Out Your Dead’ is an absolute barnstormer of a track with Cronos rattling his r’s over a pounding rhythm designed to get the heads banging and which seamlessly sets up the full on metal grind of ‘Notorious’ a track that sees Rage out Mantasing the band’s former guitar ninja with his use of the divebombing whammy bar, and the goodies don’t stop there either. ‘Dark Night (Of The Soul)’ is a fierce metal fist to the face as is the album’s title track ‘Storm The Gates’ a track that I can just see a pumped up Cronos stood arms folded 50 hole Dr Martins akimbo commanding his Legions to do his bidding in the live setting.
As a long-time fan of the band I have to admit I do find the flat out and nowt else approach the band take to their songwriting these days more than just a little relentless at times. So, for those of us who might still long an all new ‘At War With Satan’ or perhaps even a 21st century ‘Buried Alive’ you will not find anything remotely like that on ‘Storm The Gates’. In fact, tracks like ‘Over My Dead Body’ and ‘The Mighty Have Fallen’ are perhaps the most brutal the band have ever sounded, largely thanks to the superb almost out of control freight train drumming of Dante and the razor-sharp riffing of Rage.
‘Storm The Gates’ then is the sound of Venom heavier and angrier than ever before, I just hope that with this being such a special year for the band they finally get the credit and recognition they so rightly deserve as a truly ground-breaking metal band especially here in the UK where late-afternoon slots at Bloodstock aside we’re lucky to get to see them live at all.
Buy Storm The Gates Here
Author: John Hayward