VENOM – Prime Evil

VENOM - Prime Evil
  • 9/10
    VENOM - Prime Evil - 9/10


Under One Flag
Release date: October 9, 1989

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When thinking about it, Venom actually did very well through Cronos’ absence for 8 years to do his own Heavy Metal thing with the band “Cronos”. Unlike, Destruction, for example, who decided to renounce their materiel with the vocalist Thomas Rosenmerkel, who replaced the replacement for Marcel Schmier, Venom released 3 good albums with the vocalist and bassist, Tony Dolan, who left another NWOBHM/ Speed Metal act from Newcastle, Atomkraft. It seems, from these albums, that Dolan was the right choice as a replacement.

The British Venom, as probably everyone in the Metal world knows, is an important old figure in Metal in general. In their glory days, they had touched almost every great Metal subgenre like NWOBHM, Heavy Metal, Thrash Metal, Death Metal and with their bad Satan’s boys appearance they had influenced Black Metal.

Venom was created in 1979 by the famous threesome Cronos, Abaddon and Mantas. Until the year Cronos left the group for a little vacation with his band project, Venom released classics like Welcome To Hell , Black Metal and At War With Satan. With these albums, they marked themselves as the Devil’s children in the Metal world. Their style went under constant evolution, starting with the NWOBHM that was common in their first years through a Black / Heavy Metal Mercyful Fate style to bombastic and crushing Thrash Metal. All these combined together has made this band a massive and powerful force.

In 1989, Dolan “Demolition Man” replaced Cronos and under his charging vocals the band recorded Prime Evil , Temples Of Ice and The Waste Lands, which came out to be quite good. This review will talk through one of Venom’s greatest efforts, Prime Evil, which was also the maiden voyage for the “Demolition Man” and Venom’s second attempt in increasing their musical weight with another guitarist.

The album was produced by the pair of Nick Tauber and Kevin Ridley, in Lynx Studio, Newcastle, which is also the band’s hometown. This album unleashes so much power and anger with its megaforce sound that can turn any place into a battlezone moshpit. The guitars are a major deal in this one, producing a dark and gloomy sound that can be found in several Thrash Metal bands from the same era. With the guitars, there is the bass line, which empowers the two axes of steel. The drums are also explosive with strong snare, toms and double bass sound that will not leave anything left alive. All together, they are truly a magnificent artwork of a devastating Metal machine. With all the heaviness and power the band lacked many solo parts that were imperative to ignite the songs some more. The few great solo examples are in “School Daze” , “Into The Fire” and “Harder Than Ever”.

Venom had undergone a few changes before recording this masterpiece of an album. The first change is in its lineup, besides the coming of Dolan. Jeff “Mantas” Dunn , the band’s legendary guitarist comes back into the band after his departure since the album Possessed in 1985. With Mantas, comes in the new second guitarist, that was Dunn’s partner in his nowadays band – Mantas, Al Barnes. With Dolan and Abaddon, Venom continued their glorious journey without Cronos.

Dolan as a vocalist has a true vocal ability with his neverending raspy and scratchy tone of voice. He very much resembles Cronos but he has a lower tone and can’t reach to the higher notes like Cronos and he is not moaning like Cronos did. Yet, unlike Cronos, Dolan is much more of an attacking force with his way of singing; this person is a real pack of nerves. As a bass player, he has some dominance as a leader in songs like “Prime Evil” and “Blackened Are The Priests”.

Another important change for Venom is the music. Prime Evil presents a newfound power that has undertook Venom and made them a true Heavy / Thrash Metal band that could give a good fight for the American Thrash Metal scene with songs like: “Parasite”, “Carnivorous” , “Blackened Are The Priests” and “Skeletal Dance”. Since most of the American Thrash Metal bands were influenced by Venom and by the NWOBHM, Venom had no problem in marching in as a leader among others. Prime Evil unlike albums before it, had left the NWOBHM behind a bit and turned to the more intense side of Metal while not going too extreme towards Death and Black Metal. Although through the band’s new Thrashy, dominant, and attacking figure, there are still various reminders of their classical elements like in the awesome “Prime Evil” , “Harder Than Ever” and “Into The Fire”.

As for the lyrical themes, Venom continues their heritage with songs about Satan, Hell, women, sex and Heavy Metal. The main titles like “Prime Evil” which asks the question about the new evil that threatens the creations of God. “Parasite” is a bit of an enigma because it is hard to understand, if this one is a song against God or Satan or just a bastard lying person. “Blackened Are The Priest” is like other songs of Venom about religion, in this case it’s about the corruption of the priesthood. “Carnivorous” serves as another reminder of ancient Venom heritage of satanic rituals. “I Agree” is a bit of an offshoot for Venom with a song about insanity and schizophrenia. “Harder Than Ever” is a Metal anthem to join the legions of Metal and steel. “School Daze” has that sleazy Glam Metal approach about a student who fucks his teacher. This one is a kind of a refresher by Venom and it’s this phenomenon that wasn’t seen since their 1982’s “Teacher’s Pet”.

Prime Evil is the most important proof that Venom has done it well without the thundering Cronos. This album can be an almost cash load of great songs. The opening “Prime Evil” is one of Venom’s all time hits and is considered as a gem. Except from a solo, to back it up, it has everything to offer. “Parasite” and “Carnivorous” are the true Thrash / Speed Metal elements that made Venom as strong as many Thrashers. “Megalomania” , the cover for Black Sabbath, turned out to be heavy as hell and is performed with high ability. “Blackened Are The Priests” is the second best around here blasting off with a galloping heaviness along with organ marks. “Harder Than Ever” and “Into The Fire” are Metal infused songs that can well be served as anthems. Finally , “School Daze” that drips sleaziness and sex closes the party and shows that school can be entertaining for all you school boys.

Venom, after 1992, was back with Cronos as the main man behind the vocals and the bass and the lineup went back to being a threesome power. Five years after Dolan’s leaving, the band had not raised an album until 1997 with Cast In The Stone. Today they are still doing it with a much dirtier sense and style blazing the mark of Satan.


  • Lior Stein

    Lior was a reviewer, DJ and host for our Thrash Metal segment called Terror Zone, based out of Haifa, Israel. He attributes his love of Metal to his father, who got him into bands like Deep Purple, Rainbow, Boston, and Queen. When he was in junior high he got his first Iron Maiden CD, The Number Of The Beast. That's how he started his own collection of albums. Also, he's the guitarist, vocalist and founder of the Thrash Metal band Switchblade. Most of his musical influences come from Metal Church, Vicious Rumors, Overkill, and Annihilator.

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