Hey! Everywhere I turn, the whole internet is buzzing about Venom Prison.
So let’s talk about Venom Prison.
Venom Prison – Primeval (Prosthetic Records, 09 October 2020)
Venom Prison – Erebos (Century Media Records, 04 February 2022)
Again, I should have said. Let’s talk about Venom Prison again. Because I wrote about the Welsh death metal mavens’ 2016 debut LP Animus around the time it was re-released back in 2018.
More recently, the band dropped Primeval which included re-recorded versions of the songs from their earliest two EPs (originally released in 2015), plus two new songs. And then of course their newest output Erebos will be due out this Friday. So while we’re at it, let’s talk about both of those, shall we?
Primeval starts off with the tracks from Defy the Tyrant; fast and thrashy, featuring the occasional old-school death-thrash style guitar solo and the occasional deadly-sounding breakdown. Or the case of the second song “Life Suffer,” more like a breakdown of a breakdown: that moment where you’re like, “Oh shit here it comes — no wait, OH SHIT HERE IT COMES.” While it might be my imagination, the material feels like it tends to get kind of rawer, faster, more chaotic (no pun intended) progressing through the tracks from second EP The Primal Chaos, and finally through the bonus additional songs at the end.
Swiftly-forthcoming LP Erebos presents ten brand-new songs of viscious thrashy death metal from a band clearly on top of their game by at this point. The album feels modern and forward-looking, with frenzied pacing and whirlwind tempo and rhythmic shifts galore; deathcore/hardcore influences are all over the place, from the particularly brutal breakdown section in “Judges of the Underworld” to the almost-electroindustrial sounds that introduce “Golden Apples of the Hesperides.”
But at the same time, the guitar solo that appears in introductory track “Born from Chaos” harkens to more of a traditional heavy metal tonality; many of the songs employ dual harmonized guitars that would feel familiar to fans of NWOBHM or old-school thrash; “Pain of Oizys” touches upon almost classic-rock territory (shoehorned in between sections of harsh screaming and ethereal clean singing). In fact, Venom Prison seem to be at their best when combining equal helpings of traditional and contemporary — a balance that seems especially prevalent over the epic final few tracks here, topping off an offering that should appeal to all but the most stubborn of death metal purists.
Erebos is up for pre-order here (digital/CD/black vinyl) or here (hot pink + black marbled vinyl), with three songs (so far) available to preview the album, if you visit the embedded videos down below.
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