Venom - From the Very Depths
Spinefarm Records
Heavy/Thrash Metal
14 songs (51:51)
Release year: 2015
Official Venom Website, Spinefarm Records
Reviewed by Goat
Major event

Although they've improved from their delightfully sloppy early days, the metal legend that is Venom still has something of a bad reputation when it comes to their music. Speaking only as a fan of their legendary material, I can't say anything I've heard from them in the years since the early eighties has been particularly inspiring. Still, there's no denying that the current line-up of Cronos, Rage, and Danté is miles ahead of the classic line-up in skill, and there's enough passion and simple love for the music to make the lack of Mantas and Abaddon not matter really. Venom as a name continues to hold enough power, and demands enough respect, for anything released under the name to be taken seriously, and From the Very Depths is no exception.

Let's be honest, we've heard it all before, but the fact that, say, Black Sabbath or even Megadeth are producing a new set of songs gives them a certain je ne sais quois, and the same is true of Venom. If you listen to a lot of metal (and since you're reading a metal website it's a fair bet) then you'll have heard what From the Very Depths has to offer plenty of times, but knowing it's Venom can't help but elevate it. After dull intro Eruptus the title track is a ripping delight, sounding like a pumped-up Motörhead, with almost instant widdly soloing and more of those simple but charming lyrics that we know and love the cheeky Geordie chappies for (“I'll ask the question/You will confess/Do you worship Satan/From the very depths”). The same is true for The Death of Rock N Roll, the sort of crunching anthem that Lemmy and co have been solidly producing for years. A Venom reverting to rock n'roll and aiming for similar ease of listening as modern Motörhead would be a welcome addition to the metal world...

Sadly, the album goes a bit all over the place afterwards. The weirdly out of place groove/aggro-metal of the Pantera-esque Smoke and Temptation work for what they are but really lack energy after the album's promising opening, and Temptation especially reeks of some forgotten 90s act with its crunching half-thrash riffs. The wild and enthusiastic (and not technically dreadful) soloing from guitarist Rage is a silver lining to the big dull clouds of the songs, but it's all very forgettable and lends weight to the 'should have split up in 1985' argument. What's especially tragic is that the following Long-Haired Punks is another rocking ripper, the band's enthusiasm propelling the punky riffs onwards just like the classic days – at over fifty minutes there's no reason that Venom couldn't have cut out some of the crap and provided us with a lean album of punky thashing rock n'roll killers.

It's especially tragic because there's a lot of good stuff here. Stigmata Satanas would definitely have made my Director's Cut of the album, heavy and fast with a fun breakdown, while Crucified's groovy crunch is enjoyable enough, although it could have used a bit more oomph. Evil Law is undoubtedly filler, a slow opening leading to pointless chugging that goes nowhere even with a guitar solo beneath it, and the (for some reason misspelled) Ouverture is a pointless interlude. Yet Mephistopheles is enjoyable enough for what sounds like Machine Head meets Prong, and fortunately Grinding Teeth is a late-album thrashy highlight. Taken as a whole, From the Very Depths just about succeeds as a decent album in need of an editor rather than a poor one, and although long-term fans will enjoy this more than those who stopped listening to Venom in the 80s, there's enough goodness here to put me in the 'actually, still having Venom around is awesome' camp. Keep your finger near the skip button, though.

Killing Songs :
From the Very Depths, The Death of Rock N Roll, Long-Haired Punks, Stigmata Satanas, Grinding Teeth
Goat quoted 70 / 100
Other albums by Venom that we have reviewed:
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
Venom - MMV reviewed by Jeff and quoted no quote
To see all 9 reviews click here
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