Venom - Fallen Angels

(CD, Spinefarm, 2011)

It would be a pathetic joke if I’d attempt to write a professional review about the new VENOM album. So, if you were on the hunt for one then you might as well close this window. There is no way I could be unbiased and try to use fancy words to describe something that is pure Metal in the most prime form. I know that many of you have forgotten this most influential band in this scene but I would not blame you since the constant lineup changes and the egos fighting kind of messed up the future for the British Metal behemoths. On the other hand, if the VENOM story was smooth without ups and downs, then we would have been this legend that is still alive and kicking. Talking to Cronos some days ago, I realized that he is still fueled with the same passion for this music as he did more than three decades ago when he was messing with the soundboard trying to fix the sound production for the Metal monolith entitled “Welcome To Hell”. So, the obvious question is what can VENOM possibly deliver to the current Metal scene that has done everything and gone into extreme paths that back in the 80s wouldn’t imagine of?

Well, the answer to the above question is rather typical since “Fallen Angels” is a pure VENOM album. No, there are no labels to tag this album and safely categorize it in a group with others; after all, that would be impossible since VENOM is simply VENOM. Having watched the band onstage of this year’s ‘Christmas Metal Festival’ just confirmed my thoughts from the interview and this album came to put a headstone with embossed letters saying VENOM are back”!

Everything you love about this band is present in this album wrapped in a killer production, soaked in the analog way of recording, keeping a safe distance from the over-compressed releases which are being served from most of the new bands guided by record labels and managers. But VENOM have never compromised their music and “Fallen Angels” could not be an exception. So, we have the trademark Cronos vocals, grunts and the amazing irony in his voice, spitting out the Satanic lyrics that stay superficial as always. There is nothing deep in these lyrics apart from the genuine attempt to support the music that remains aggressive and heavy as hell (what a fitting characterization)! As I said the production is analog, so the bass guitar will crush your bones and erase all the Black Metal wannabes who think that wearing a pentagram and turning some crosses upside down, while using an 8 track to record music, grant them with pure evilness and a place in this scene. VENOM do what they know best; they sound absolutely heavy and Black Metal without the high distorted screams, the fast guitar riffs and the occult atmosphere, some corpse-paint and blasphemous gimmicks have to offer. “Pedal To The Metal” is the answer to all of them, entering with a trademark guitar chord progression (kudos to Rage for this) and explodes after the bass guitar slide with straightforward drumming that has power and doesn’t mesh around. As for the vocals, I will challenge you not to put that evil grin smile in your face as Cronos screams “Pedal To the Metal”. And to top things off the lyrics add “No need for provocation my instincts high on fire, my final destination will be the place that I die” as you will find yourself raising your clenched fist while screaming the chorus on top of your lungs. Yeah, this is the VENOM we love! The primitive drumming in the intro of “Hammerhead” might wink towards “Warhead” but after another Cronos grunt, the song goes into groovy mode with another killer chorus that will offer a break to the relentless headbanging along the bass lines: the lines “race towards your goal Black Metal is your soul, Hammerhead” are followed with a great guitar solo and now I understand why Cronos told me this is a great lineup.

The first taste of this album came with “Punks Not Dead” and even if I had that track on repeat mode when it was released, I found myself doing the same thing having the album in my player. This is a straightforward song aiming right in the bull’s eye with a massive riff and more analog sound where the sliding fingers on the bass guitar chords will give the feeling that VENOM plays this song beside you. Be careful not to snap your neck during the granite solid rhythm right after the guitar solo and the faster break after the characteristic “Come On” grunt by Cronos. I’d be fool if I didn’t comment on the seven minutes of the self-titled track that enters with some killer bass leads going hand-in-hand with the wind effects, the sound of bells tolling minutes before the guitar joins the festivities in another more evil that Hell song.

I could go forever and talk about every track, commenting on every single lyric line for this impressive album, according to the VENOM standards. Yes, it is better than the previous two releases and it wouldn’t be a sacrilege if I placed this one close to the “At War With Satan” days.  VENOM are back and judging by their live performance in Germany, I am expecting more from them. This is Metal my fellow metalheads in its pure and finer form. I am more than happy to close the ranting with a VENOM motto: “Piracy destroys music. So does VENOM!” Did you expect a normal rating for this one?

PS: One of the bonus tracks, “Blackened Blues”, seems to be the new “Aaaaaaarrghh”.





01. Hammerhead
02. Nemesis
03. Pedal To The Metal
04. Lap Of The Gods
05. Damnation Of Souls
06. Beggarman
07. Hail Satanas
08. Sin
09. Punk's Not Dead
10. Death Be Thy Name
11. Lest We Forget
12. Valley Of The Kings
13. Fallen Angels
14. Annunaki Legacy (bonus)
15. Blackened Blues (bonus)


Cronos - Vocals, Bass
Rage - Guitar
Dante - Drums