Castle Music
Release date: October 3, 2005

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“Lay down your souls to the Gods Rock ‘n’ Roll.” This verse comes for the song “Black Metal” that literally gave birth to the homonymous Metal genre. This song was released back in the early 80’s when the New Wave of British Heavy Metal was making its first steps with bands like Saxon, Raven, and Iron Maiden. The unholy trinity named Venom decided that it was time to shake things up a little by shocking everyone with the release of the legendary Welcome To Hell album. After that, everyone was talking about the worst band in the world comprising three guys with extreme outfits and behaviors that could not play properly even a single musical note.

Welcome To Hell was the title of the band’s debut album. In fact this album was a collection of demo recordings that Venom sent to Neat Records as a sample. The record company immediately proposed to release this material as a full-length album. The rough production with the raw and “in you face” sound gave a great boost in Venom’s reputation. A year later, the band returned with their most important album, Black Metal. Here the production got a little better since the recording session lasted a few weeks (…) and was carried through by the entire band.

The band was becoming bigger, and in 1984 the band played live for the first time in UK in the legendary Hammersmith, Odeon which was totally packed. It is also known that bands like Metallica, Slayer, and Exodus were the opening acts in various Venom live performance. For the first albums of the aforementioned, one can easily point out the influences rising from Venom’s sound.

In the following years, the band’s lineup became unstable due to the disagreements between the members about the band’s musical direction. So, after a number of rather disappointing albums (except from the decent Prime Evil with Anthony Dolun in the vocals), Venom ceased to exist in 1992.

Cronos’s love for Venom was refueled and a reunion took place in 1997, resulting in the release of Cast in Stone. The problems between Cronos and Abaddon lead to the departure of the last. After the release of Resurrection, Cronos had an unfortunate climbing accident that forced him to remain out of the music business for almost 3 years.

In late 2005, Castle Music decided to honor this controversial band by releasing a four CD box set with all of the Black Metal gems. The albums covered in the compilation are Welcome to Hell, Black Metal, At War with Satan, Possessed, and Cast in Stone. Of course, there are live performances, outtakes, some demo recordings, single versions, and bonus tracks. The booklet that comes with the four CDs is at least impressive. In the booklet’s 60 pages, fans can find all of Venom’s history enriched with unpublished photos and press clippings, concert tickets, flyers, detailed discography, and some notes from the master himself, Chronos, bringing light to all the dark sides of the story.

This is one of the best choices someone could make for a Christmas present, bringing knowledge to the new and memories to the old about the most uncompromised band in the Metal history that created the so called Black Metal scene. So, the wish for the upcoming year is that the new Venom lineup will be as solid as hell in order to produce an album that can stand next to Black Metal with dignity.

Be sure keep in mind that “Home taping is killing music, so are VENOM.”


  • Dr. Dimitris Kontogeorgakos

    Dimitris was a reviewer and interviewer here at Metal Express Radio. He has a diploma in Physics, a Masters in Medical Physics and a doctorate dimploma in Nuclear Medicine (this is the reason for his Dr. title). He was given his first Heavy Metal tape at the age of 12 which was a compilation entitled Scandinavian Metal Attack. The music immediately drew his attention and there he was listening to the first Iron Maiden album, trying to memorize the names of the band members. That was it! After some years, he stopped recording tapes and started buying vinyl records, spending every penny in the local record shop. The first live concert he attended was Rage co-headlining with Running Wild.

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