Mpire Of Evil - Crucified

Mpire Of Evil - Crucified

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(CD, Mausoleum Records, 2013)

When I am referring to VENOM I am exclusively talking about the Cronos-fronted days but this has nothing to do with the Demolition Man who replaced him for a series of albums. After all, Tony Dolan’s work with ATOMKRAFT is still a well-hidden NWOBHM gem. Sure, this way of looking things is absolutely biased and it would have caused trouble to my VENOM collection if “Prime Evil” had slipped through these cracks. What I am trying to say is that the Dolan-fronted VENOM albums were good and in fact better than what we are seeing nowadays getting released from the same genre. So, to underline the quality of that time period MPIRE OF EVIL decided to re-visit some VENOM songs and make an album out of it, something that has to be connected with the most successful tour after the “Hell To The Holy” release.

“Crucified” contains only two original songs (already released in the “Demone” single) while the rest of the tracklist covers all the Dolan-fronted VENOM albums and for this only I have to give credit to the band. I mean, this is the perfect excuse to dig out those albums leaving aside the Cronos issues and enjoy this Punk/Metal blend (yes, VENOM based their innovative music on this recipe). This almost ‘best of’ collection starts with the SLAYER-esque Thrash-riff driven “Temples Of Ice”. The first thing a VENOM-ear will notice is that the production is as close as possible to the original (ok, it is cleaner) giving emphasis on the bass lines and the drum work that I had a hard time digesting during the first days of Marc Jackson during MPIRE OF EVIL’s North US tour. Yeah, it was a matter of proper rehearsal.

Dolan sounds as always pissed-off and this is why he was called up to fill Cronos’s big shoes under the VENOM moniker. “Parasite” is better than the original where I had trouble getting pass that annoying bass drum sound, even though in the new version the guitars are less VENOM-esque distortion-wise. The amazing “Blackened Are The Priests” is also included and I hope it will draw some attention to the killer album “Prime Evil” that is probably the best non-Cronos-fronted VENOM album out there. Again, the production works in favor of this song but I have to admit that in the original the bass feels stronger, especially in the bass-driven break. I would be happier if they had included “Prime Evil” instead of “Carnivorous” even though the latter one is an aggressive headbanger, no questions asked. “Wolverine” played its role and made me search VENOM’s discography for “The Wastelands” and to some extent I did reconsider my initial opinion that to my defense was based on the huge turn-off for having VENOM without Cronos.

The two new songs “Demone” and “Taking It All” are fine examples of where MPIRE OF EVIL stand nowadays and that is closest to the Dolan-fronted VENOM days. Especially “Taking It All” has the in-your-face and refuse-to-follow-norms attitude that VENOM was built upon. Dolan sounds absolutely amazing (listen to the opening lyric lines) with his trademark harsh singing while I have to acknowledge the drum work that fits the MPIRE OF EVIL music like hand in glove. Last but not least is Mantas who, I want to believe, has renewed his interest for this type of music, so there will be more coming from MPIRE OF EVIL in the same vein. As a VENOM fan I am absolutely happy having the two lineup versions active in discography, in case you were wondering...

PS: How cool is mentioning VENOM so many times?





01. Temples Of Ice
02. Parasite
03. Kissing The Beast
04. Blackened Are The Priests
05. Carnivorous
06. Black Legions
07. Need To Kill
08. Wolverine
09. Crucified
10. Demone
11. Taking It All


Mantas - Guitars
Demolition Man - Vocals, Bass
Marc Jackson - Drums