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September 22, 2023

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Resurrection (Steamhammer/SPV)

By: Jeb Branin

I remember clearly the day I bought my first VENOM record. It was the "Black Metal" album and it must have been in 1982 or 1983. I picked it up used for fifty cents (at a Christian thrift store, believe it or not!!). Apparently someone had bought it and immediately gotten rid of it. I understood how the previous owner must have felt. I hated the record. I had read that Venom was a MOTORHEAD meets punk rock kind of a band, which sounded right up my alley. It wasn't. I couldn't decide if their overtly satanic image was ridiculous "posing" or truly "evil". I couldn't decide if their sloppy delivery was really "raw" or just a lack of talent. As a teenager who had only been delving into the underground NWOBHM scene for a couple of years, I had never come across anything like them before and to be brutally honest they creeped me out a little. A buddy and I (CM staff member Pat actually - yeah we go way back) ended up playing frisbee with the record. A year or two later I "rediscovered" VENOM and picked up "At War With Satan". I was never a huge fan but I eventually came to appreciate them. "Resurrection" is the first album I have gotten since the band reformed a few years back. They are basically the same band they always were, except they have smoothed off all the rough edges, slowed down a bit, added keyboards, gotten a mite fancier, added more melody, incorporated chugga-chugga riffs... now that I think about it, they aren't the same band at all. Hmmm.... They do still sing about the same nefarious topics they always have but since they practically invented the blatantly cheesy satanic heavy metal lyric, they can get away doing it without sounding banal. In their early years VENOM was the actualization of all the traits the critics of Heavy Metal accused the genre of having. They were THE extreme band. Today they are rather tame.... however they are celebrated as the grandfathers of death metal and black metal. I guess the question is... do you buy this album for who they once were or who they now are? I suspect for most it will be the former.
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