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It’s that time again. No, I’m not talking about the Holidays. Yet another Venom album has been released, not to be confused with Venom, Inc., another offshoot of the original Venom. This is the band that has retained the original name Venom -- the one which features original member Cronos. It’s a little confusing how there are two iterations of the band operating today; still, the amount of music the group has produced since the split is impressive, and the band for sure is a big part of the reason black metal was birthed into the thrash scene and then became its own beast. But in 2018 -- almost 2019 -- is their music still relevant?

The answer is: yes and no. No, it’s certainly not a groundbreaking record by any means. The sound is very much the same that we expect from Venom every time they put out a new album, every time we see them live, and every time we listen to Black Metal.

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But in a way, that’s a good thing. Whenever old bands try drastically new sounds -- think In Flames or that infamous Morbid Angel record that pissed everyone off -- it can go really, really poorly. That’s one thing you never need to worry about where Venom are concerned. This album is just as ripping and strong as ever, but they don’t try too hard to break any new ground. At this point in time, why would they?

Don’t get me wrong; there are definitely some memorable moments on the record. “I Dark Lord” isn’t really original, but it is a serious thrasher in the vein of Black Metal-era Venom. “Destroyer” has some nice, sludgy moments and seems to nod to doom. The title track, although predictable, is definitely one of the more standout songs on the album. It’s upbeat thrashiness has a certain catchy element the rest of the record doesn’t possess.

Essentially, after the nearly hour-long record runs its course, I’m left satisfied but not wowed. If you’re commuting, cleaning, or doing chores, this is a fun little ripper to put on and headbang to. I said it already, but it’s Venom; how can you go wrong? They know what they’re doing, and they’re essentially offering the same type of thing they were back in the 1980s.

I'm not wowed, though, -- there is no new ground broken, no standout tracks that are going to stick in your memory forever. The record is good, but not great. That said, this is a must-listen for all die-hard Venom fans. If you’ve already listened to or owned everything the band has done, there’s no reason to stop now.

They’re good at what they do, and they’re still delivering strong, powerful metal.

-- Addison Herron-Wheeler

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