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Venom Inc
Avé
Type: CD
Company: Nuclear Blast
Release: 2017
Genre: Traditional
Reviewer: Eric Compton
Published: 7/28/2017
Everything we loved about the mid-era Venom sound
Venom Inc. is built from the centralized trio that represented Venom on three albums - 'Prime Evil' (1989), 'Temples of Ice' (1991) and 'The Waste Lands' (1992). That three-piece, consisting of Tony "Demolition Man" Dolan, Anthony "Abaddon" Bray and Jeffrey "Mantas" Dunn reunited at the 2015 "Keep It True" festival when Bray was asked to join both Dunn and Dolan (performing as Mpire of Evil) on stage to perform Venom songs. The set resonated with fans and the trio starting forming the ideas around this new incarnation of Venom. Both Bray and Dunn are members of the original Venom line-up, complete with Cronos, that recorded influential records like 'Welcome to Hell' (1981), 'Black Metal' (1982) and 'At War with Satan' (1984). Cronos continues to tour and record as the original Venom, but this new band gives fans the opportunity to expand on the Venom legacy and experience a whole new chapter.

'Avé', the band's debut record, captures everything we loved about that mid-era Venom sound. It incorporates the NWOBHM roots of Newcastle, that faster rock and roll approach that made Motorhead, Warfare and Raven so addictive, while still maintaining a modern sound. It's a difficult feat to achieve, trying to remain true to the roots but still liberating the artist at the same time. 'Ave' does this and does it very well. Dunn states in the pre-press interviews that a majority of the album was done in one take and that sort of lively, organic feel permeates the album. Tracks like "Forged in Hell", "Metal We Bleed" and "Black N Roll" roar down the rails with a frenzy of fast riffs, quick sticks and Dolan's vocal demolition. His comparison to Cronos is legitimate and proves why a lot of fans are calling Venom Inc. the true Venom. Traditionalism is a caveat, but more groove-oriented songs like "I Kneel to No God" and "Preacher Man" showcase a slower, more methodical approach to grinding expression. It's fresh, invigorating and adequately displays a Venom thrust into the heaviness of 2017.

While thoroughly enjoying the Venom records, I'm not sure I've heard anything this good out of that entire camp since the late 80s. Metal fans assign allegiance, but I don't think there needs to be "one". However, based on the strengths of 'Avé' there could be a leader.
About this Writer:
Eric Compton // Eric Compton lives in the most haunted city in the world, St. Augustine, Florida with his family and two yorkies. He has served as senior editor for MaximumMetal.com for nearly 10 years and is the author of the heavy metal book series--Denim & Letters. His reviews, interviews and social commentary has been featured on websites like Brave Words, Blabbermouth, Metal Temple, Metal Rules, Ultimate Metal, Metal Maniacs and Wikipedia.

Maximum Metal Rating Legend - Click for Full Details
5 Excellent - Buy it and say a prayer to the metal gods that you were tuned on to this masterpiece. A classic.
4-4.5 Great - Almost perfect records but there's probably a clunker or a lacking somewhere to keep it from perfection. You won't feel bad about dropping some bones on these.
3.5 Good - Most of the record is good, but there may be some filler. This is the OK range where you'd search for the record on sale or used.
3 Average - Some good songs, some bad ones at about a half/half ratio. Could show skills but be dull overall. Redeeming qualities for indy bands are effort and passion. Majors that don't try or suck outright end up here.
2-2.5 Fair - Worth a listen, but best obtained by collectors. There is much better metal out there.
1-1.5 Bad - Major problems with music, lyrics, production, etc.
0 Terrible or an otherwise waste of your life and time.

Note: Reviews are graded from 0-5, anything higher or not showing is from our old style. Scores, however, do not reveal the important features. The written review that accompanies the ratings is the best source of information regarding the music on our site. Reviewing is opinionated, not a qualitative science, so scores are personal to the reviewer and could reflect anything from being technically brilliant to gloriously cheesy fun.

Demos and independent releases get some slack since the bands are often spent broke supporting themselves and trying to improve. Major releases usually have big financial backing, so they may be judged by a heavier hand. All scores can be eventually adjusted up or down by comparison of subsequent releases by the same band. We attempt to keep biases out of reviews and be advocates of the consumer without the undo influence of any band, label, management, promoter, etc.

The best way to determine how much you may like certain music is to listen to it yourself.



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AvéVenom Inc
2017
Eric Compton7/28/2017


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