|Review: Venom - Metal Black|
Label: Sanctuary Records Group
Year released: 2006
Review online: March 22, 2006
Reviewed by: Michel Renaud
Rated 3.55/5 (71%) (20 Votes)
Six years since "Resurrection" and finally Venom deliver its long awaited follow up, weirdly named "Metal Black" (OK...) I am one of the five people who liked "Resurrection" (still do) so I wasn't too worried about this new release. Bands whose later material doesn't live up to their early, classic sound often claim the new album is a "return to form", and Venom did make that claim this time around. In this case it's at least partly true - "Metal Black" contains some of the old, some of the new. The result is an album whose songs don't flow very well together, giving the impression of a collection of random songs rather than an actual album. So you've got songs like "Burn in Hell" which is definitely a phantom of the past, the old school Venom sauce, while "House of Pain" sounds like a reject from the "Resurrection" sessions (and I'd say there's a reason why it would have been rejected, it's really not good.) Then you have the "laughably catchy", such as "Rege Satanas" and "Lucifer Rising" which I wouldn't want to be caught humming in public. Not bad songs per se, but they have a bit of a "pop feel" (for lack of a better word) to them. They are no "Teacher's Pet", but they do get stuck in your head. But hey, with Venom I've come to expect just about anything.
My favourite tracks are "Burn in Hell", "Blessed Dead", "A Good Day to Die", "Sleep When I'm Dead" and "Metal Black". Enough old school sounding to please the (some) die hards, and enough of "newer" influence so that this does not sound too stagnant either. On the vocals side, there isn't much to complain about: Cronos is his good old self and delivers the good, a little variety here again between the old sound and the "Resurrection" style.
This is one of those albums one could write pages about and I don't like doing that. Horrible? No. Classic? No. If you were expecting the new coming of "Welcome to Hell" or "Black Metal", you'll be disappointed, but not entirely as their older sound is predominant among the 14 tracks presented here. Speaking of which, they could easily have cut four of them and the album would have been better overall as a result. "House of Pain", "Death & Dying", "Assassin" and "Darkest Realm" could probably have taken a hike. This is one album for which consensus will certainly not be reached. I do recommend giving it some time to sink in before passing judgement.
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