Chugging thrash riffs with bursts of MOTÖRHEAD-style speed is one way to describe From the Very Depths, the latest album from metal stalwarts VENOM, out now via Spinefarm Records. Here is a record that for the most part has only one gear…”GO!” and you know what? It works. It works really well. Bassist/vocalist Cronos, guitarist Rage, and drummer Dante sound fuller than they have in a long time, and you can just feel the renewed sense of purpose in many of these songs. Another way to put it would be, “We’re VENOM, and we don’t give a fuck WHAT you think!!” which is also highly accurate. The guys swing for the fences and for the most part they connect on album number fourteen. There are a lot of tracks, most kickass, a couple just OK, but in the end it’s a VENOM album, which is always a good thing, right?
“From the Very Depths” and “The Death of Rock N Roll” welcome the listener with a combo of thrash and NWOBHM-coated arms; really a great way to start. When you listen you’ll be shocked such sounds can come from a trio. And when you hear, “Light up the Marshall Stacks!” that should be EXACTLY what you do. After that comes my instant favorite “Smoke” which is more of a slow burner, but when Cronos lets ‘er rip with “SMOOOOOOOOKE!” on the hook you will most likely be as mesmerized as I was/am. “Temptation” is a mid-tempo affair with killer riffs galore and “Long Haired Punks” is all NWOBHM, all the time. Take the worst mudslide in history, multiply it by ten and you STILL won’t come close to the thickness of “Stigmata Satanas”. This song will envelop everyone and everything in its path, so watch out.
There’s a wonderful vintage vibe to “Evil Law” that just feels like home. The kind of song when you put the vinyl on, you can’t wait to get to it, then try like hell to put the needle back in juuuust the right spot to catch it again perfectly. Remember doing that? I do, too. “Grinding Teeth” is the heavy metal equivalent of a goddamn drive-by, as it proceeds to shoot out all your windows and leave you playing connect-the-dots with the bullet holes in your walls. After that, I think the heaviest, nastiest, and sickest riffs come with “Mephistopheles”, and both Cronos and Dante raise their game to compete with Rage on this one. Definitely one of the album’s best! There’s a hellacious groove to “Wings of Valkyrie” that should have heads banging for days, no question. Closer “Rise” sounds like it was recorded live, or fused with a live recording, but either way it kicks MUCH ass!
Overall From the Very Depths is an album that will please fans of VENOM old and new. It is also an album that the boys in the band can look at years from now and be proud of. If there’s one minor issue, it’s that there are fourteen songs. A couple could have been left off for momentum’s sake, but at the end of the day Cronos, Rage, and Dante have given metal fans one motherfucker of an album! Grab one today and you’ll see what I mean!
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Rise”, “Smoke”, “Evil Law”, “Mephistopheles”, ‘Stigmata Satanas”, “Grinding Teeth”