In one of the countless documentaries about black metal – I forget which one, there are so many! – the question, “What is black metal?”, was asked of almost everyone whose face – sans corpse-paint – appeared on screen. And who else but the originators of that appalling appellation could provide such a succinct and insightful definition: “Black metal’s black metal.” Along with Bathory and Hellhammer, Venom pioneered the genre. Blending the rock ‘n roll raucous of Motörhead with the defiant DIY of punk and enough evil imagery to cement their reputation as Satan’s emissaries, raw, brutal, and venomous, this trio of evil envoys have had a lasting impact on extreme metal. And since that first church was burned and its first victim was murdered in its naughty name, black metal has proven to be more than just a phase that badly-behaved boys and edgy adolescents indulge in and play at parent- and priest- and police-pestering volume. So, who amongst us dare argue with their definition?
Despite derision from the media, Venom garnered such a gigantic following that in 1984, they headlined the world (in)famous Hammersmith Odeon and, following the success of their fourth album, Possessed, returned one year later to a packed venue, again with the cameras ready to roll. And that performance, recorded shortly before the classic line up of Cronos, Mantas and Abaddon split, is captured here. Cherry Red’s CD/DVD release brings together the complete 15-track set with liner notes that include an exclusive interview with Venom fanatic, Shane Embury of Napalm Death. An essential document of raw, chaotic underground metal at its best, this is just killer. This is one to play loud – at parent- and priest- and police-pestering volume at home, in the car, and anywhere public. In fact, the more public the place, the better.
Too loud for any crowd, this black metal nightmare will open the seven gates of hell, and bury and burn any and all detractors alive, and satisfy the bloodlust of only the most devout metalhead. Now’s your chance to lay down your soul to the gods rock ‘n’ roll!
Welcome to Hell!
Or, if you were there the first time, Welcome back to Hell!
Satanic worship by Jason Guest
Available from 27 October 2023 through Cherry Red Records here
Track listing for both the CD and the DVD:
- Too Loud (For The Crowd)
- Black Metal
- Countess Bathory
- Seven Gates Of Hell
- Bass Solo
- Buried Alive
- Don’t Burn The Witch
- In Nomine Satanas
- Welcome To The Hell
- Witching Hour