Venom - MMV
Heavy Metal
Disc 1: 21 songs (58:46) Disc 2: 18 songs (70:55) Disc 3: 16 songs (64:26) Disc 4: 15 songs (62:01)
Release year: 2005
Official Venom Website, Sanctuary
Reviewed by Jeff
Major event

As comical, controversial and influential as Venom were, no one can deny that they have left their mark on the world of heavy metal. With a career that spans 25 years, it's only fitting that a CD Box set finally commemorates such an anniversary. So the big question is, does someone really want to go out and spend $40 on something like this? Well, that all depends.......

"MMV" is a four disc set, (each disc comes in a jewel case), which only includes recorded material from the Cronos, Mantas and Abaddon sessions. Many consider these three hellraisers to be the true, core Venom line up. Most of the tracks included here come from the albums "Welcome To Hell", "Black Metal", "At War With Satan", "Possessed", "Eine Kleine Nachtmusik" and "Cast In Stone". "MMV" was compiled and re-mastered by none other than Cronos himself.

Some of the material on "MMV" has been made available for the very first time on CD. It includes demos, outtakes, rare tracks, alternative versions, radio spots and an exclusive interview with the band from 1983. One of the real gems here is disc four, which includes many of the live and re-recorded tracks from the rare and highly collectable Assault series of albums. The quality of the recordings from the Assault series, especially the live recordings, has a lot to be desired. Venom were notorious for low, bottom end, bulldozer bass tones that usually over powered a very treble, chainsaw guitar sound. Not to mention drums that sounded like they were recorded in a tomb using pillows and played with inconsistent timing. Their recordings and musicianship somewhat improved with each album but they never had the budget for a quality recording and production until an album like "Calm Before The Storm".

In addition, the box set includes a very informative 60 page booklet, containing a fully comprehensive discography and band history, alongside brand new Cronos artwork, rare photos and images of memorabilia from his personal collection. As an added bonus, a replica period poster (featuring "The Seven Dates of Hell" with Metallica) completes the set, making this an essential purchase for any die hard Venom fan.

One of the things I don't like about the box set is the track selection. I'm disappointed that songs like "Don't Burn The Witch", "Sacrifice" and "Leave Me In Hell" are missing. Also, this box set DOES NOT include any material from the non Cronos, Mantas and Abaddon years. Albums such as "Prime Evil", "Temples of Ice" and "The Waste Lands" are overlooked, as well as some other excellent releases like "Calm Before The Storm" and "Resurrection". All of these are talked about briefly in the booklet. In my opinion, a box set is a great way to highlight and sum up a band's career, as well as include things that make the box set extra special. I believe Cronos chose not to include the non Cronos, Mantas and Abaddon material because it seems to me that he feels the only Venom years that were of any real significance and impact musically are the ones that were created by the unholy trinity of Mantas, Abaddon and Cronos himself.

There are also many other rare Venom tracks that could have been included on the box set but weren't. Back in 2002, Neat/Sanctuary re-released the albums "Welcome To Hell", "Black Metal", "At War With Satan", and "Possessed". All of them included lots of rare bonus tracks, singles, demos, linear notes, etc. Only some are included here. And some of them were even released on compilation CD's like "Skeletons In The Closet" and "From Heaven To The Unknown", which came out before the Neat/Sanctuary 2002 releases. With all of these discs combined, one would probably not want to shell out $40 for the box set. I also would have preferred some song lyrics.

The one track I'm really glad they finally put on CD was "Senile Decay". This has to be one of the rarest studio outtake tracks. I've had this one for years on vinyl and felt they should have released it as a bonus track on one of the Neat/Sanctuary re-releases back in 2002.

For the most part, any die hard Venom fan will want to buy this box set. If you are not as familiar with the band, this is a good place to start.

The good news is that Venom plan on releasing a brand new album in March of 2006 called "Metal Black"; an album that is described as one that "harkens back to the writing style of the 80's Venom with a powerful production to incinerate any sound system, truly demonic in every sense and with the delivery of a charging beast, this is music at its heaviest, and this is metal at its most black, this is Metal Black". "Metal Black" sees band founder, vocalist/bassist Cronos, joined by his brother, drummer Antton (drummer on "Resurrection") and guitarist Mykvs, (aka Mike Hickey, who played on "Calm Before The Storm" and on all three Cronos albums). In my opinion, this is probably the best line up this band has ever had! I predict an "Album of the Year" with "Metal Black"!


KILLING SONGS: CD1: Bloodlust, Welcome To Hell, 1000 Days In Sodom, In Nomine Satanas, Bitch Witch, Countess Bathory, Acid Queen, Die Hard CD2: At War With Satan, Rip Ride, Cry Wolf, Stand Up (And Be Counted), 7 Gates of Hell, Warhead, Nightmare CD3: Blood Lust (bonus track), The Evil One, All Devils Eve, God's Forsaken, Sadist (Mistress of the Whip), The Chanting of the Priests (live) CD4: Bloodlust (re-recorded version), Manitou (Abbey Road Version), Venom

Killing Songs :
Jeff quoted no quote
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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