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Tuesday 22 August 2017

Reviews: Venom Inc, Rex Brown, Dawn Of Disease, Thor (Review By Paul)

Venom Inc: Avè (Nuclear Blast)

Way back in the early 1980s a black metal band from the North East blew a hole in the metal establishment. Venom were the originators of early black metal. Cronos, Mantas and Abaddon, a three-piece outfit shook the world and their influence in whole movements of metal cannot be underestimated. Despite the contempt which many held them in at the time, there is no disputing that Black Metal, Welcome To Hell and At War With Satan are legendary albums. Since then of course, it’s all gone a bit weird with numerous line-up changes and tepid albums. Cronos continues to perform and record with his own line up under the band’s original moniker whilst Abaddon and Mantas returned with the rather unimaginative Venom Inc, alongside bassist and vocalist Tony ‘The Demolition Man’ Dolan, reuniting the Prime Evil era line-up of 1989-92.

is the latest work and overall, it’s a decent release. For those of us around in the early 1980s, the most noticeable thing is how much more accomplished the musicianship is on this album. It retains some of that raw grit of the early days, with Mantas’ guitar riffs instantly recognisable on opening track Avè Satanas. Dolan’s vocals are gruff but work perfectly whilst Abaddon’s powerful drumming is impressive throughout the album. There’s little to grumble about on this release to be honest. It’s hard, aggressive and dripping with anti-Christian sentiment and Satanic imagery. The sinister Dein Fleisch with its industrial tone, the battering ram approach of War and the savagery of I Kneel To No God are all good honest neck breakers. Comparisons with From The Very Depths are inevitable and I still prefer the snarl of Cronos to Dolan’s growl but this isn’t a bad release in any way. Apart from the Saville impression that closes the release. Possibly the most sinister moment on the entire album. 8/10

Rex Brown: Smoke On This (Entertainment One)

The former Pantera man has kept a relatively low profile over the past few years (apart from his work with Kill Devil Hill) but he’s returned with a blues soaked rocker which improves with every listen. The rocking edge of Low Rider opens the album with Brown’s southern drawl impressing. His fuzzy bass lines are complimented by the lead guitar work of Lance Harvill and Joe Shadid whilst drummer Johnny Kelly keeps compact time on the skins. There’s also some sweet Hammond tucked away. It’s a refreshing release, veering towards country rock at times but the Cajun sound of the Deep South is never far away. Buried Alive has shades of Zack Wylde whilst the heaviness returns for Train Song. There’s also more than a bit of Brown’s early musical influences hidden amongst the tracks with The Beatles one of the more obvious, for example on the gentle Fault Lines. Best Of Me is a perfect calming song whilst album closer One Of These Days smoulders before allowing Brown to conclude a fine album in style. 8/10

Dawn Of Disease: Ascension Gate (Napalm Records)

Many death metal bands lurk in the shadows for years and years. German outfit Dawn Of Disease probably fit into that category. Their fourth album Ascension Gate is a solid if unspectacular offering with all the death metal checklist fully ticked. Mammoth riffs, cascading atmospheric arrangements and some quite delicious hooks at times. The band reformed in 2009 after a two-year hiatus and most of the original line up remain. Most notable is vocalist Tomasz Wisniewski, whose gravel gargling delivery draws immediate comparisons with Swede Johann Hegg of Amon Amarth. I’ve played this album several times and it does grow considerably. It just doesn’t quite capture the attention in the same way other bands can do. Perfectly competent, I’d really like to see these guys in the live arena where I bet they are monstrous. 7/10

Thor: Beyond The Pain Barrier (Deadline Music)

Back in the 1970s a Canadian body builder decided it would be a brilliant idea to combine rock with muscle. Thor the band was born. Jon Mikl Thor was the instigator; a former Mr Canada, Mr USA and no doubt Mr Small Penis. In 1984 Thor took up residence in the UK and we were subjected to the banality of Thunder In The Tundra, Let The Blood Run Red and other such gems. His 1985 album Only The Strong received reasonable responses but I recall at the time wondering how long he would last. Apparently, all those steroids prolonged his career and his back catalogue is quite astonishing.

Well kids, by Odin’s beard, the muscle bound one is back again and still unable to get that box down from the top shelf. However, he has managed to squeeze out a stinking turd of an album which is the worst piece of crap I’ve heard for many a long year. Completely out of tune, the singing is excruciating and the irony of listening to a wailing twat howling about Beyond The Pain Barrier is not lost on me. However, there are many contenders for the golden shite stick award of most dreadful song on the album. I present On Golden Sea as a challenger, whilst opener Tyrant sucks more than a toothless grannie with Wayne Rooney.

This really is 52 minutes of your life that you’ll never get back but if you want to listen to lyrics of utter bollocks, then I dare you to listen to Galactic Sun, three minutes of utter tripe. If a worse album than this exists then please lock it in a lead lined box and drop it deep into the Atlantic Ocean. Yes, I’ll permit the littering. If you step in this album be warned, you’ll never get it off your shoe again. To quote Marty Dibergi (Rob Reiner) in Spinal Tap, it’s a shit sandwich. 2/10

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