Draconis Blackthorne's Shadowmantium

Venom

Rising from the depths of the seething Abyss, an "evil" is unleashed the likes which has never been seen before.Three forms arise from the brackish pits with explosive rage and darksome connotation - veritably, "three horsemen of doom" thundering across the black earth in wrath, blasphemy, lust, and destruction.

The drums are the heartbeat of Hell, the guitars are the heartstrings of the black heart of Hell, The vocals are the voices of the demonic hordes, Venom's Legions...


VENOM: MMV
{Contents: Four CD's, booklet, poster. case.}

When most people think of Black Metal, corpse-paint and church burning Norwegians come to mind these days, but Venom really originated something unique for that genre, laying down the foundation for many imitators and admirers alike.... yet Venom manages to remain in a class all its own. Truly, the fore-fathers of Black Metal, a term non-existent before their emergence, who at least entertainment-wise, have given The Devil His due.

I recently had the opportunity to pick this up the other day, as it virtually stood out at Me from the display - emblazoned with a Baphomet and reptilian logo, this band remains an evocation, calling to mind psychodramatic memories, splendid theatrics of a marvelous Dantean spectacle, and some of the heaviest musick to date.

While not actual Satanists, Venom has served to veritably "open the gate" for diabolical expression in the Metal arena, and the degree of their sinister stage show remains unmatched, even comparable to KISS presentations.

MMV contains two decades of infernal evilution. Rare remixes, out-takes, interviews, rare singles, and live performance recordings are herein. A collection of which a member of 'The Legions' would have had to have incrementally possessed from obscure as well as international sources. Much of which I have had in My own private collection in one form or another {mostly cassette studio and radio recordings, and vinyl}, now all pleasantly acquired on CD. I was also quite pleased to discover the "7 Dates of Hell" poster included {now framed}, along with a lavish 59-page booklet including an original introduction by Cronos, many informational tidbits, print interviews, numerous news clippings, flyers, album art work, and rare photographs.

Disc 1 contains outtakes, demos, bonus tracks, and singles from 'Welcome To Hell, 'Black Metal', and 'Possessed'. The entire 'At War With Satan' album comprises disc 2, some inclusions from 'From Hell to The Unknown', radio / TV spots, and a studio interview. Disc 3 contains a combination of bonus tracks, live material, and outtakes from 'Calm Before The Storm', 'Prime Evil', and 'Cast In Stone'. Along with this splendid compilation, Disc 4 contains recordings from the legendary Hammersmith Odeon concerts, thusfar only available on 'The 7 Dates of Hell' and 'Alive in '85' VHS tapes, and portions from the various 'Assault' series, now all available on one CD.

The CD's themselves feature impressive renderings of each character of this infernal trinity poised within the customized Baphomet, including a horned, demon-winged, fanged Cronos in hellish rictus.

Distinct from the core releases, MMV is essentially a complimentary musickal accumulation of all those singles, rare picture discs, outtakes, and live recordings which complete the "Venomist's" nefarious compendium.

Rating: 5/5.

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Welcome To Hell

Welcome To Hell was the demonseed which launched the world into a new world of darkness that was in turn to spawn not only the subsequent albums Black Metal, Possessed, At War With Satan, as well as various picture disks and EP's, but it was to ignite the hellfires in many other bands, which can be seen as their "children of darkness". Venom coined the term "Black Metal", that was to define a genre spawned in Hades.

Welcome To Hell is raw, fast-paced, containing some excellent instrumentals and intros such as that with Witching Hour, beginning with a ponderous pounding of Cronos upon the bass guitar to herald the arrival of that unholy hour ideal for the practice of Witchcraft and the movement of demonic forces in the night when victims sleep away the nocturne.

Countess Bathory unearths the hitherto clandestine history of Elizabeth Bathory who bathed in the blood of her victims after torturing them extensively first, which earned her a place in infamy as one of history's most nefarious characters, contributing to Vampire legendry, particularly the preservation of youth and the alleged inability of Vampires to view oneself in mirrors, as well as the ingestion of blood for eternal life.Her counterpart in Vlad Tepes would inspire the other half of the superstition. As usual, there are granules of truth / fact in the mythology.

From this album, particular favorites are "In League With Satan" and "In Nomine Satanas" - medium-paced cantibles and hoof-tappers. The title track "Welcome To Hell" also contains memorable rhythms greeting one to the nether-realms.

The appropriately named "Welcome To Hell" album bears the image of The Baphomet - the first album and band to do so {with a band "Pentagram" soon thereafter}, the back cover displaying the Infernal Trinity - Cronos, "Rabid captor of Bestial Malevolence" {Bulldozer Bass & Vocals}; Abaddon, "Barbaric Guardian of The Seven Gates of Hell" {Chainsaw Guitar Dives}; Mantas, "Grand Master of Hades & Mayhem" {Drums & Nuclear Warheads}.


Possessed

"Look at Me...
Satan's Child
Born of Evil, thus defiled...
Brought to life through Satanic Birth...
Raised in Hell to live on earth..."

The third sonic demon unleashed to begin an infernal onslaught that was to cause much upheaval in the world of mortals. Filled with fury and blasphemous anthems of metal, blood, and fire, Possessed brings forth a brutal cavalcade to darken the hearts of many a satanimal were-beast adhering to its morbid call.

The Hellish Trinity of Cronos, Mantas, and Abaddon return once more spewing catastrophe wherever their instruments of destruction may resound.

Powerdrive certainly manifests its namesake, traveling on demon wings with a mighty roar, incinerating all in its path. Flytrap scorches incessantly, and on to Satanachist, using echoing vocals to accentuate the force thereof. Burn This Place To The Ground blasts forth at black light speed igniting hellfire with burning sulphuric rage; Harmony Dies is as a purifying plume of destruction to bring forth renewal; and Possessed, probably the prime offering of this opus, remains one of the foremost and memorable blasphemous pieces in Black Metal history, whose blood-dripping lines introduce and conclude this review, which offers a fitting interlude itself to Hellchild, followed by Moonshine {which uses howling werewolves and a fade-out chorus for a heightened psychodramatic effect}; Wing and A Prayer, Suffer Not The Children {with a whispering chorus amidst the Metal mayhem - the dichotomy works very well}; Voyeur {an inclusion which typifies the myriad subject matter in Venom's works, which includes that of mysticism, Occult Lore, sacrilege, battle tales, and fleshly delights}; Mystique, and Too Loud For The Crowd {a potent constant at Venom concerts incorporating audience participation by The Legions to ratify the fact of exclusivity, such is what The Lighthouse Effect would incur}.

The cover features two Infernal Progeny children there standing in Venom "Welcome To Hell" shirts smiling diabolically, displayed in negative form, while on the back cover, the band stands in the wilderness with battle horse on hand.

"I Am Possessed by all that is Evil...
The Death of your god, I demand!
I spit at the virgin you worship...
And sit at Lord Satan's Left Hand!"



Seven Dates of Hell

"Ladies and Gentlemen... From the very depths of Hell... Venom......!"

A diabolical voice echoes across Hammersmith Odeon Theater concert hall on this fateful night of horror and hellish amusement. One of the absolute best concerts ever. Pyrotechnics, incredible all-encompassing stage presence, immense backdrops and lasers, explosions, fire plumes, showering sparks, sound-effects generated by the incredible guitar work of Mantas and Cronos.

The instruments themselves sound possessed, as of played by the hands of demons themselves. Fog covers the stage, the band appears as if materializing therefrom amidst lights of green red, amber, blue, and strobe pulses.

Frenzied demoniacs with veins coursing with devils' blood, The Gates have been opened! And now, for some blissful Hell on Earth...


Venom in-store at The Private Eye

It was a breezy Autumn day in the month of October. I had read that Venom would be in-store at a small darkened Death Metal / Occult Supplies Shop called "The Private Eye", with its windows painted black, its logo comprised of Old English letters in white thereupon. On the door, an eyeball with a skull for a pupil. On the window, was an arcane dancing devil of the woodcarving variety. Immediately, I was compelled to enter - what I found within was a total environment with black brick walls. Several Death Metal posters adorned the walls, including Venom's "Seven Dates of Hell" Tour. On the wall behind the register, a taxedermied goat head, upon which was placed a long black wig & hood. In the display case, were copies of The Satanic Bible, The Satanic Rituals, & Necronomicon, beside Baphomet & inverted cross medallions, & an assortment of gauntlets, bracelets, & spiked neck bands.

Records mainly comprised the black shelves, along with some dark-themed magazines, including "In The Pit", which featured an interview with Quorthon of Bathory. There were videos too - "The Ultimate Revenge", featuring Venom, Slayer, & Exodus; "Venom Live At The Hammersmith Odeon", & "Venom Alive in '85" {reviews pending}. Needless to say, I eventually possessed them all.


Venom: Live In '85

The owner of this establishment & I would sometimes speak for hours on many varying & engaging subject matters, from Satanism, Black Magic, Crowley, the weakans, to blindlighter hypocrisy, to torture devices. Anyhow, I would frequently return to purchase either a T-Shirt, record, pendant, or a magazine.

So, when I heard Venom was to be in-store here at one of My favorite places, I naturally jumped at the chance.

I arrived on that familiar street, & saw that there was already a line formed. I had brought along My "Doombox", as I call it, a monsterous 90-watt portable tape player, upon which I played a combination of Venom, Celtic Frost, Possessed, & Bathory, among others.In about 15 - 20 minutes, a white limousine slowly pulled up to the curb. About a minute later {anticipation... good showmanship!}, Cronos came out first, to which all present let out a resounding yell, a veritable war cry, with cornu thrust forward. The limo driver, a female blonde, was flabbergasted - as if the forceful noise hit her hard in the chest. Then Abaddon came forward, & the expression was repeated. Unfortunately, Mantas was not present for some reason.

Only two people were allowed in at a time, so Myself, & an acquaintance entered after about ten minutes. The red light was on, illuminating the blackened chamber most eerily, reminding Me of My own Noctuary Chambre.

Cronos & Abaddon signed My copy of "From Hell to The Unknown" with a silver magic marker. They were both most amiable fellows, seemingly very appreciative of their die-hard fans, or "Legions". Abaddon spoke to Me about a new live album in the making, & inquired if I was to be attending tonight's concert. I did, & will write a Black Earth review for that soon.

While I was in there, I noticed Cronos motion to The Satanic Bible & The Satanic Rituals...

It was also at this store where I purchased My first Baphomet Medallion. The Private Eye was certainly a Satan-send.

I also eventually met with Megadeth, Possessed, & Slayer in that sorely-missed diabolical store.


The Ultimate Revenge: Venom, Slayer, Exodus

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