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Venom: Fallen Angels

Demonic predictability.

Venom’s Welcome To Hell and Black Metal albums spawned almost every variant of extreme metal that at least some of us know and love today.

There’s a case for tracking all of the new progressive metal back to At War With Satan, an album generally regarded as a failure but one in serious need of reappraisal. Without them, no Reign In Blood, no Ride The Lightning, no black metal, no thrash. Yes, we owe it all to Venom, and each night we ought to sacrifice a black cockerel to them.

Unfortunately none of the many reunions or new line-ups of Venom have ever equalled the madness and ferocity of those first albums. Now the Cronos-led trio have signed with Finnish metal imprint Spinefarm and recorded their 13th album after extensive touring.

It’s good, but certainly not an album that will spawn genres and inspire future superstars. It’s heavy, funny and has some good songs, such as Hammerhead, the title track and the pulverising Punk’s Not Dead, but in truth it’s really a bit characterless.

It doesn’t disgrace or demean their classic work but it hardly adds to it either. You feel like a twat for expecting anything more.

Allan McLachlan spent the late 70s studying politics at Strathclyde University and cut his teeth as a journalist in the west of Scotland on arts and culture magazines. He moved to London in the late 80s and started his life-long love affair with the metropolitan district as Music Editor on City Limits magazine. Following a brief period as News Editor on Sounds, he went freelance and then scored the high-profile gig of News Editor at NME. Quickly making his mark, he adopted the nom de plume Tommy Udo. He moved onto the NME's website, then Xfm online before his eventual longer-term tenure on Metal Hammer and associated magazines. He wrote biographies of Nine Inch Nails and Charles Manson. A devotee of Asian cinema, Tommy was an expert on 'Beat' Takeshi Kitano and co-wrote an English language biography on the Japanese actor and director. He died in 2019.