Venom - Welcome To Hell
Thrash/Black Metal
13 songs (46:10)
Release year: 1981
Official Venom Website
Reviewed by Jeff

I was really torn as to whether or not my review of Venom's "Welcome To Hell" should be categorized as a classic or an archive. So let me present some facts that represent both criteria for classic and archive.

When I first learned about Venom I had never heard any of their songs prior to taking a chance on their "At War With Satan" album. That release took a while to grow on me and there was something about Venom that increased my interest in listening to some of their other albums.

There is no doubt that the songs on Venom's 1981 debut release "Welcome To Hell" consisted of elements that later became known as thrash, death, black and virtually every other form of extreme metal; influencing bands like Bathory, Kreator, Sodom, Emperor and Cradle of Filth. These bands took things one step further, making Venom look like boy scouts in comparison. (CLASSIC)

For "Welcome To Hell", Venom adopted the theatrical influences of Kiss and used satanic and occult references in most of their lyrics as a gimmick. Musically, they used the formula of Motorhead; creating a three piece unit that would play with unparalleled distortion and breakneck speed. "Welcome To Hell" certainly gives one the impression that Venom weren't the greatest of musicians. Their performance as a unit often sounded clumsy and underrehearsed. The bulldozer like bass always seemed to over power the chainsaw like guitars, which had a very high treble setting to begin with. The drums always sounded like they were being played on cardboard boxes and the timing seemed a bit off. The overall production was below average. In fact, "Welcome To Hell" was recorded on a 4 track originally for demo purposes. It was gritty and raw. Not until "Calm Before The Storm" would Venom finally attain some respectable musicianship and production. (ARCHIVE)

One can't help but like the songs on "Welcome To Hell". Listening to the lyrics and the musicianship makes one almost laugh since it is three guys trying to sound serious. But in retrospect, many of these songs are true classics of the genre. Tracks like "In Nomine Satanas","In League With Satan", "Welcome To Hell", "1000 Days In Sodom" and "Witching Hour" were all covered by bands on the "Tribute To Venom" release. (CLASSIC)

Over the years Venom has re-recorded some of their earlier classics with better production and improved playing. This gave the songs new life; digging beneath the layers to enhance the meaning and intention that might have been lost or missing on the original versions.

So to sum up, the poor production and less than average musicianship on Venom's "Welcome To Hell" would make this album an archive by Metal Reviews standards. But Venom's overall influence on the thrash, death, black metal movement is undeniable. That in itself heavily overides the forementioned, making this album a classic. So I must give this album the lowest score eligible for classic based on our rating system: 90 / 100.

As a side note, Neat/Sanctuary's reissued a remastered version of "Welcome To Hell" in 2002. Added were eleven bonus cuts between alternate takes, singles, and demos, and killer packaging to boot. The classic line up of bassist/growler Cronos, guitarist Mantas, and drummer Abaddon is forever immortalized on CD!


Killing Songs :
Welcome to Hell/ Live Like an Angel, Die Like a Devil/ 1000 Days in Sodom/In League With Satan/In Nomine Satanas
Jeff quoted CLASSIC
Other albums by Venom that we have reviewed:
Venom - From the Very Depths reviewed by Goat and quoted 70 / 100
Venom - Black Metal reviewed by Goat and quoted CLASSIC
Venom - Metal City (DVD) reviewed by Jeff and quoted no quote
Venom - Hell reviewed by Jeff and quoted 66 / 100
Venom - Metal Black reviewed by Jeff and quoted 84 / 100
To see all 9 reviews click here
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