Venom - Hell
Pummeling Heavy Metal
13 songs (55:19)
Release year: 2008
Official Venom Website, Sanctuary
Reviewed by Jeff
Major event

My expectations regarding the latest Venom album were no where near as high as my anticipation for when it would be released. There is something about Venom that makes me look forward to what they have to offer. Over the years they have improved drastically in their song writing skills, recording techniques and their musicianship. They started off as a joke but somehow managed to become something more and are looked upon as a major influence by many of todays extreme metal bands.

The last three Venom albums (Cast In Stone, Resurrection and Metal Black) have been some of Venom's strongest material in years. They have also had three different line ups with each of those releases; the one constant being bass player and vocalist Cronos. Venom's latest release Hell marks the fourth line up change in four albums! The latest member to join is guitarist Rage (some of these stage names sound like something out of the WWE or even American Gladiators!). Rage is the third guitar player within the last four albums. His style fits in well with Venom's musical approach and he seems to be more than capable of playing. He is a great fit for the band and seems to be a mutt mix between former Venom guitarists Mantas and Mike "Mykvs" Hickey. Rage incorporates alot of flashy guitar techniques; from whammy bar dive bombs to torturous note bends and killer riffs.

Months prior to the release of Hell, Venom had posted samples of some of the tracks on their website. What I heard at the time sounded promising. After listening to Hell in full, I must say that I'm not as blown away. Hell is full of aggressive, pummeling metal songs but very few grab you right away or even have any kind of staying power. Other tracks will most likely grow on you over time.

The vocals of Cronos are as growl like as ever. He even sounds like Cookie Monster at times, like on the track The Power and the Glory. Instead of "C" is for "cookie", "C" is for "Cronos"! The overall mix of the album is questionable. The bass guitar does not over power the rhythm guitars like it has in the past but there is still alot of bottom end present. The production has raw feel to it yet some of todays best recording equipment was used. My one major complaint has to be the sound of the drums. I feel that Antton's drum skills are misrepresented and somewhat lost because of the way the drums were either recorded or even the type of drum set he used. You listen to the drum recording on an album like Resurrection and compare it to the one on Hell. No comparison! The drums on Hell sound thin and a bit muddy to me, making it hard to hear his double bass foot work. I wish the drum sound was a bit heavier and fuller in sound. It's unfortunate because Antton is a great drummer and some of the things he is playing are not as accentuated due to the way the drums were recorded. I'm not sure if this was intentional as far as Venom wanting to capture the tombstone drum sound of that heard on earlier albums like Black Metal and Welcome To Hell. However, Venom has managed to tap into that evil aura that is so much a part of their persona in songs like Straight To Hell, Evil Perfection, Hell and Armageddon.

Only time will tell how much staying power Hell will have with me or anyone else for that matter. Aside from a few killing songs, the album as a whole is just average for me. Still worth checking out.



Killing Songs :
Straight To Hell, Evil Perfection, Kill The Music, Armageddon, Stab U In The Back, USA For Satan, Blood Sky
Jeff quoted 66 / 100
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 - Metal Black reviewed by Jeff and quoted 84 / 100
Venom - MMV reviewed by Jeff and quoted no quote
To see all 9 reviews click here
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