Venom
Black Metal


4.0
excellent

Review

by somberlain USER (64 Reviews)
January 27th, 2010 | 141 replies | 23,592 views


Release Date: 1982 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Quite simply one of the most important and influential albums in the history of metal.

6 of 6 thought this review was well written

Cronos: Vocals, bass
Mantas: Guitars
Abbadon: Drums

King Diamond once dismissed Venom’s entire career as a publicity stunt, “Black Metal” was considered a gimmick(and it kind of was) but it’s importance in metal cannot be underestimated. The relevance of this album is on par with “Never Mind the Bollocks Here’s the Sex Pistols” as far as the impact and the influence that they had, also similar to the Sex Pistols in talent which is to say not very much, but this is a triumph of substance over style; it was more about WHAT was said as opposed to how it was done.

The opening sounds of a chainsaw cutting through a door let you know that this is no ordinary album. Venom’s goal was the create the most shocking music imaginable and they succeeded in spectacular fashion, nobody had pushed the envelope this far. Venom took the satanic lyrics that Black Sabbath only hinted at and built their whole image around them. Much like KISS had done, Venom created a larger than life image that caught people’s attention, the pentagrams on the album covers, the “evil” pseudonyms, sure it got them lots and lots of negative attention but any publicity is good publicity right?

With better production than the debut; which isn’t saying much, “Black Metal” is still very raw, a quality that would be imitated many years later by other black metal bands. It sounds like theses guys just go together in a basement and started jamming. Although this album gave the subgenre it’s name, it’s not really black metal per se, it’s more of a thrash metal album with satanic lyrics. Album opener “Black Metal” is fast and heavy with some good riffing and extremely simple drumming, but that was part of the image, Venom weren’t interested in musical proficiency, they were just making a loud racket and singing(barking?) insane blasphemies. Guitarist Mantas is clearly the most talented musician here and he unleashes some very memorable riffs on “Black Metal” on tracks such as “Heaven’s on Fire” and “Countess Bathory” as well as a solos on “Buried Alive” and “Sacrifice.” “Teacher’s Pet” is a precursor to Van Halen’s “Hot for the Teacher” albeit much bolder and explicit: “Played hide and seek with teachers mouth, her lips were warm and wet.” The track “Countess Bathory” began metal’s infatuation with the infamous countess and later Cradle of Filth would dedicate an entire album to her. Cronos’ gravelly vocals were extreme for the time but not over the top and still decipherable. A far cry from what the genre’s vocal style would become.

Overall, the musicianship is very simple which isn’t necessarily a bad thing but Abbadon isn’t exactly Neil Peart behind the kit. The lyrics are incredibly juvenile but maybe after the topics that have touched on by bands like Cannibal Corpse we have become jaded and the lyrics in “Black Metal” must have been much more powerful in 1982. The album ends with a preview of the title track for their next album “At War With Satan.”

Bands such as Slayer and Bathory, considered highly influential today for thrash and black metal respectively, got many ideas from Venom and “Black Metal” is the foundation for every form of what can be classified as “extreme metal.” It also inspired some young and impressionable Norwegians, apparently unaware that this was not meant to be taken seriously, to commit numerous atrocities like church burnings and murders, horrific crimes that would scare Cronos right out of his spiked armbands! It also unfortunately inspired bands like Darkthrone to imitate their ultra lo-fi recording techniques, how is it possible that nearly thirty years later, Darkthrone’s production is actually WORSE than Venom’s? Even though their debut “Welcome to Hell” was also highly influential, “Black Metal” is the most known for spawning a subgenre that took it’s name but it also was the cornerstone of thrash and death metal, many metal bands that are considered great today were highly influenced Venom and their influence continues to be felt, much more so than many of their contemporaries who shunned Venom at the time. Not bad for a publicity stunt.

Recommended tracks:
Black Metal
Countess Bathory
Heaven’s On Fire



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user ratings (450)
Chart.
3.9
excellent
other reviews of this album
sonictheplumber STAFF (4)
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Priestmetal (3.5)
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Comments:Add a Comment 
somberlain
January 27th 2010



2121 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0


LAY DOWN YOUR SOULS TO THE GODS ROCK ‘N’ ROOOHOOOHOOOL!


Parallels
January 27th 2010



6640 Comments


YES.

Zip
January 27th 2010



5312 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

gravely
Should be gravelly

BallsToTheWall
January 27th 2010



44164 Comments


Rules both review and cd.

Zip
January 27th 2010



5312 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I only like a couple songs. The fact that I can't listen to this anywhere sort of makes it un enjoyable. The production is so bad I can only really hear it if I'm in a perfectly quiet room.

somberlain
January 27th 2010



2121 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

thanks Balls, fixed it btw Zip thx for that
I dont think the production is as bad as people make it out to be, Darkthrone's is much worse imo

TheSpirit
January 27th 2010



17202 Comments


Great review. The production isn't bad at all when compared to the second wave, but then again the second wave did it on purpose so...

Digging: vhmnt / blsphm - vhmnt / blsphm

Zip
January 27th 2010



5312 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Maybe I just got a bad quality rip. eh

Hawks
January 27th 2010



34680 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Good review. Pretty decent album. Grew on me a whole lot.

Digging: Equilibrium - Erdentempel

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
January 27th 2010



16264 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

possessed by BLACK FUCKING METAL

Digging: Ulver - Bergtatt

Zip
January 27th 2010



5312 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

k someone had too much beer

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
January 27th 2010



16264 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I was talking earlier to Karl about drinking beers and listening to Bathory..... sounded like a good idea...

XulOnerom
January 28th 2010



1818 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

DON'T BURN THE WITCH!!!! THE WAYS OF HELL AIN'T WRONG!!!!!

Good high school memories

Asiatic667
January 28th 2010



4648 Comments


How does Hell have any "ways", it would just be people burning up doing nothing.
Just saying.....

ReturnToRock
January 28th 2010



3448 Comments


review has some punctuation problems, but won't nitpick.

however, you mean make a RACKET, not a racquet, they're not playing tennis

as for the album, it has some really good songs - Black Metal, Bathory, Teacher's Pet, To Hell And Back, Buried ·Alive/Raise The Dead - but limps a little towards the end. and it makes my band sound musically proficient.

I agree with what you said about the sound, though. this isn't black metal at all, it's "dirty" thrash metal. same with Possessed and Hellhammer, who completed the Holy Trinity of early extreme metal. the first "real" death metal band was...well, Death, and the first real black metal band was probably Darkthrone .

KILL
January 28th 2010



70718 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

YES

Digging: Gal Costa - Gal Costa

TheSpirit
January 28th 2010



17202 Comments


and the first real black metal band was probably Darkthrone .




Mayhem. Darkthrone started out as a death metal band

ReturnToRock
January 28th 2010



3448 Comments


i was going to say either dartkthrone or mayhem, but didn't mayhem come around years after darkthrone?

TheSpirit
January 28th 2010



17202 Comments


Mayhem released their first full length album after Darkthrone had released two or three, but Mayhem was the direct influence that turned Darkthrone from Death Metal to Black Metal.

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
January 28th 2010



16264 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

and the first real black metal band was probably Darkthrone .

No way, dude. No way at all. Bathory formed in 1983, and you could easily call the s/t a black metal album. Besides Bathory, there are quite a few bands which formed pre-1987 which could be labeled as black metal.

Mayhem formed in '84.



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