Review Summary: Not for the fainthearted.
At first glance, the Buddhist references scattered across Venom Prison’s second album don’t exactly cast the mindful, present and peaceful beliefs that most would instantly categorise with the religion, however, on closer inspection, “Samsara”
actually illustrates the whole concept of Buddha’s ancient principles with a touch of morbid modernity. Named after the religion’s concept that Samsara is the endless cycle of life and death bound to the material world, it details a number of specific suffers that, in this day and age, are capable of being eradicated, and a number of more wildly relatable suffers that have haunted humanity for aeons which are sadly becoming ever more present in the modern age.
Make no mistake, this album isn’t purely a religiously influenced album. Whilst it draws influence from a religion that is based on understanding and ceasing suffering, the issues the band unflinchingly confront are certainly applicable to the current state of the world. For life is
suffering. Technology has blessed us with the opportunity to connect with anyone with ease but depression and loneliness is the modern epidemic. Machinery that produces products in abundance leaves us frothing with greed. The definitions between politicians and dictators have become twisted and indiscernible. There is so much hate in the world, so many reasons to suffer. Venom Prison has channelled that pain and used it as a vehicle to power their vitriolic death metal and the result is a brave and defiant sound that is furiously aggressive in form yet extraordinarily liberating in nature.
You don’t need to read an interview or delve into the band’s history to understand the authenticity behind the music they create. Larissa Stupar’s savage vocal delivery is so passionate during every song on “Samsara”
that she sounds absolutely terrifying. Likewise, the rest of her bandmember’s cast the same level of passion in their own way throughout the album where barbed solos erupt from the cesspit of churning grooves and wildly dynamic riffing contorts around maniacal drumming. Sonically, in simple terms, Venom Prison mean what they say, and they say it in such an uncompromising way that the aggressiveness actually comes across more as liberating than destructive is admirable whatever your opinion of the music is.
Blood and guts are found in abundance within death metal. While “Samsara”
is saturated in blood, what elevates Venom Prison from the rest of the bunch is how they pour salt into their open wounds and cauterise the weeping blisters with the burning rage of the innocent forced to accept corrupt politics, the amniotic discharge of unprotected surrogate mothers (“Uterine Industrialisation”), the tears of victims from sexual assault (“Implementing The Metaphysics Of Morals”) or sufferers of depression and self-harm (“Self Inflicted Violence”) … For all the vicious guitar work, frenetic drumming and distressing growls, “Samsara”
sounds so terrifying because of how human it is. Furthermore, the cruel reflection of such topics elevates the music to a new level. The bludgeoning instruments are almost reacting to the messages that Larissa screeches out on “Sadistic Rituals” and particularly the final 2 minutes of “Naraka” when her howls become more comprehensible. Very little scares people more than the truth, and the truth is that what Venom Prison illustrates is real; to some even harrowingly applicable. This type of death metal is far more impactful than sawing off a bunch of zombie’s heads while some blast beats fire off in all directions.
Substantially less accessible than “Animus”
and all the more crushing for it, Venom Prison exceeds expectations on “Samsara”
and prove to be one of the most uncompromising metal bands around. Venom Prison has brilliantly linked the concept of Samsara with the state of humanity in a wonderfully destructive and furiously liberating way. Not for the faint-hearted.