Review Summary: Stuck in a limbo between anachronism and modern times
The metal pioneers or what’s left of them (meaning Cronos), come back to haunt us with the 55 minute old school “From the very depths”. A mediocre effort, at best.
When Venom try to resemble their past, they are at their best. The record kicks off with a nice duo of retro sounding headbangers. “From the very depths” and the “Death of Rock and roll” are dynamic, simple and to the point. The godfathers of extreme metal use the basic metal formula (strong riff – chorus –solo) to perfection and add a punkish aura of fun. Guitarist La Rage and drummer Dante can play their instruments, unlike Mantas and Abaddon, and the band sounds tight and actually quite proficient, for Venom standards of course. The riffs are simple but played with an edge and the song writing is underdeveloped but hard hitting. All satanic good.
If Venom released a mini LP featuring the 2 aforementioned songs and “Long haired punks”, I would have given them a rating of 4, for 15 minutes of traditional metal.
Unfortunately, the rest 40’ of the album provides soulless, uninteresting speedy/groove metal in its simplest form. The initial energy dies out quickly in a mud of boring songs. “Smoke” is slower than expected and that’s the only interesting thing about it. “Crucified” has been written a thousand times before and “Evil Law” resembles Slayer riffing, extremely watered down. But, it is really when Venom tries to sound modern that accidents like "Mephistopheles" happen. I can’t really put into words this mid –tempo, unimaginative shell of a song. This is a joke, listen for yourselves.
I have no complaints about the production and the lyrics though. Venom managed to sound fresh but not modern, polished but not clean cut. This a good balance that actually complements the raw nature of the band so kudos to the producer! Furthermore, the vocals are a joy to behold. Cronos is, after all, the spirit of Venom. He sounds as strong as ever, a good blend of dirty, harsh vocals, with the occasional spoken twist that adds to the variety. On the other hand, the lyrics are pretentiously dark, in the old, venomous way. Expect a lot of Satan, gods of rock and roll, witching hours and hell. These lines are meant to go down with a pint of beer or two, just as expected.
Quite simply, “From the very depths” runs overlong and there aren't many good songs in it. The band tries to find a place in modern times but doesn't hit the mark. Venom continues to release decent albums but they don’t have the assets to stand out of the pack anymore. Their strong hand is funny, heavy punkish metal. Keeping it short, real and energetic and they might, just might, regain their small but cult audience.