Comprising two-thirds of the original Venom (guitarist Mantas and drummer Abaddon) and three-quarters of the line-up that recorded Venom’s Prime Evil album in 1989, plus Tony ‘Demolition Man’ Dolan in place of Cronos on bass and vocals, Venom Inc’s hellfire credentials are undeniable. But do they miss the presence of old demonic croaker Cronos? Not a jot. Ave is as evil as Satan’s bleeding anus and certainly on a par with the early records by the Geordie black metal pioneers.
This writer once described Venom’s debut album Welcome To Hell as having the hi-fi dynamics of a 50-year-old pizza. And one criticism that can be levelled at Ave is that at times it does sound rather too polished for these corrupted tastes. Plus – as you can tell by track titles such as Forged In Hell and I Kneel To No God – it’s utterly, skin-blisteringly remorseless. It’s not until final song – the word ‘song’ is used advisedly – Black N Roll that a hint of the dark humour of old creeps in.
Venom Inc? More like Venom llc: loud, loathsome, cataclysmic.