The godfathers of black metal are back with a new album (out 1/27).
As longtime fans are well-aware, not all Venom albums are created equal. For every classic like In League With Satan, there are more than a few duds littered throughout the black metal godfathers' extensive discography, a frustrating reality that has long fueled opinions that post-80s Venom isn't worth the wax its printed on. Haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate, though, and Venom is still turning up louder and hitting it harder than most of their NWOBHM peers. Thirty-five years after they released their first demo, Newcastle-upon-Tyne's finest are gearing up to release From the Very Depths, Venom's first new album since 2011's fairly lackluster Fallen Angels. It's the band's fourteenth overall, and first for Finnish label Spinefarm Records. For a band that's literally been to hell and back, that's so overwhelmingly influential and has launched a thousand extreme metal bands, Venom's still got a lot to prove.
So, how is it? Honestly, it's pretty decent. If you look past the ridiculous cover art and its handful of clunker tracks, From the Very Depths is a perfectly reasonable entry into the band's catalogue. It sounds hungrier than its predecessors, and shows a willingness to progress a little (though this is still Venom we're talking about; they're not going to be shoehorning in an extended free-jazz section anytime soon). It's got big, dumb, gloriously self-referential metalpunk tunes like "Long Haired Punks" and "The Death of Rock'n'Roll," it's got some rock-solid riffs, and it's got Cronos, which should really be enough for anyone.
While they may never write another "Acid Queen," the new record boasts a solid handful of bangers, one of which we're pleased to share with you today. "Grinding Teeth" is dirty, rough, and pissed, with a little bit of fancy fretwork laced into a supremely headbangable midtemop thrash metal riff. Cronos' bulldozer bass and sneering growl are clear, present, and accounted for, and the final result is aces. If the rest of From the Very Depths followed this formula, they'd have another classic on their weathered hands; as it is, "Grinding Teeth" is a standout, and a sign of more good things to come.
Listen for yourself below:
Kim Kelly really does wish they'd write another "Acid Queen" though; she's on Twitter.