Venom - Storm The Gates

(CD/LP, Spinefarm Records, 2018)

Back in the no-internet days, fighting over bands with your fellow metalheads was a usual and super fun activity, considering the little information we had on our disposal. Still, we were eager to enter into intense arguments defending the bands or musicians we had close to our heart. Nowadays, this fun activity has moved to the internet and has mutated into a pitiful badmouthing exchange without any real substance. I am sure that “Storm The Gates” will be subject of such conversations fueling the argument what lineup is closer to VENOM... From day one, I could not care less about this as long as the music ticks my clock and makes me headbang in my mid 40s. On top of this, I (still) get goosebumps writing these words: Ladies and gentlemen, from the very depths of Hell, VENOM!

Oh yeah, that’s right, the solid trio is back with “Storm The Gates” with Cronos melting the mic with his trademark timbre and attitude. And to prove what I am saying, I will start this album presentation from “Dark Night (Of The Soul)”; “Hey you motherfucker, what’s you looking at” are the opening lyrics served with Cronos’ unique in-your-face and pissed-off attitude that still has some Punk blood boiling inside. The pounding rhythm with the bone-crushin’ bass sound and Rage’s killer riffs check all the VENOM quality-control boxes and will put the evil grin on your face at no time. As long as VENOM can do this to me, I will continue to follow them all the way to Hell... By the way, this was the first song of the album that made me hit the repeat button almost 666 times, and please, I am fully aware of the cheesy lyrics and this is one of the many reasons why I love this band.

I should not forget the raw production that has something from the '80s by being nothing else but perfect and feels like it was recorded live in one take. I mean, check the mix on “Beaten To A Pulp” and how Cronos’ vocals come from the deepest well to really feel what I am talking about. Contrary to the old-school sound, there are some effects in the background proving that VENOM have an itch to push the envelope and try new things in the studio. Check what is going on in the background of the mid-tempo “Destroyer” and how the evilness is being enhanced by such details (after all, the Devil is in the details...). Be warned though; you need to really listen to the music and not just skip-listen a parts here and there. No, you have to drop the needle on the wax turn the volume to ten and let it rip... “Over My Dead Body” is the perfect song to let it rip starting off with a sweet drum-roll before exploding in a '80s Thrash way spearheaded by an old-school riff that partners with one of Cronos’ trademark grunts from Hell. Speaking of riffs, you should check out how “Immortal” enters with a guitar sounds that seems to come straight from the amp without any post processing. The vocals follow this old-school lead standing side-by-side with the sound of pounding bass strings (pay closer attention to those during the guitar solo) reaching a thrashin’ tempo like it’s the most natural thing to do. Oh wait, for VENOM, this is the natural thing to do... I have no idea if this was a conscious decision, but the album’s title track is the perfect setlist starter, so I find it a little bizarre having it dropping the curtain. On the other hand, there is the ‘going out with a bang’ way of closing an album and enticing the listener to flip the vinyl one more time... After all, wouldn’t you like to keep headbanging with the massive “Bring Out The Dead” and indulge your VENOM hunger through Cronos’ way of underling the letter “r” on the chorus line? Here, Rage dives deeper into Thrash history with some Jeff Hanneman-esque tremolo action. Contrary to the tape trading destroys music, so does VENOM saying, “Notorious” brings some melody into the album with some easy to sing-along lines, a sick main riff and a rather strange sounding snare drum which strangely fits like a hand in glove to this song.

“Storm The Gates” is the best present to have under the Xmas tree but make sure that the poor tree will not burst into flames the moment you’ll start spinning the record. Does this album sound like VENOM? Hell yeah, it does, and it sends shivers down my spine when thinking that this genre-shaping band hit the stages some four decades ago. Can we please get them to cross the Atlantic?





01. Bring Out Your Dead
02. Notorious
03. I Dark Lord
04. 100 Miles To Hell
05. Dark Night (Of The Soul)
06. Beaten To A Pulp
07. Destroyer
08. The Mighty Have Fallen
09. Over My Dead Body
10. Suffering Dictates
11. We The Loud
12. Immortal
13. Storm The Gates


Cronos - Bass, Vocals
Rage - Guitar
Danté - Drums