Black metal pioneers VENOM performed at this year’s Inferno festival on Thursday, April 14 at Rockefeller in Oslo, Norway. Fan-filmed video of the concert can be seen below (courtesy of YouTube channel Mo blackmetalbitch).
VENOM formed in 1979 in Newcastle Upon Tyne. Coming to prominence towards the end of the new wave of British heavy metal, VENOM‘s first two albums — “Welcome To Hell” (1981) and “Black Metal” (1982) — are considered a major influence on thrash metal and extreme metal in general. VENOM‘s second album proved influential enough that its title was used as the name of the extreme metal sub-genre of black metal. The band classic lineup trio of Conrad “Cronos” Lant, Jeff “Mantas” Dunn and Anthony “Abaddon” Bray recorded two further studio albums, “At War With Satan” (1984) and “Possessed” (1985), and live album “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik” (1986). Often cited by bands such as METALLICA, BEHEMOTH, CELTIC FROST and MAYHEM as major influences, they are one of the most revered bands of their generation. VENOM are still fronted by original singer/bassist Cronos and headline festivals all over the globe and continue to release new music.
In a 2018 interview with Consequence Of Sound, Cronos stated about his band’s influence on subsequent extreme metal groups: “I really like to think of VENOM as a catalyst rather than inventors. Influence would probably be more like it. I’ve always been — from being young — a fan of what you’d call ‘rock music.’ From THE BEATLES to THE [ROLLING] STONES to THE WHO, through [LED] ZEPPELIN and [DEEP] PURPLE and everybody. So, I’ve always liked the idea of drums, guitar, this, that, and the other. My mum’s brother used to play guitar in a country-western band, so I’ve always been around instruments and music. I’ve never really gotten into any of the electronic stuff when it came along in the ’80s. I didn’t really see how that was working for me in any way — I just like a drum kit and a guitar.”
He continued: “When people used to ask back in the day, ‘How do you describe VENOM?’ I would say, ‘It’s all the best bits of the bands that I love.’ So, if JUDAS PRIEST wear leather jackets, then I’m going to wear a leather jacket and a pair of leather pants! And if KISS have three flashpots on the front of the stage, I’m going to have ten! And if Ozzy Osbourne is going to sing about the devil walking down the street, then I’m going to be the devil walking down the street! It was taking all of the great things that I loved, and all the crazy frontmen, like Gene Simmons, Ian Anderson, Rob Halford, and encompassing all of these ideas into a new thing. And then, adding that dash of punk. That’s why I always used to wear the big Doc Martens — that was my punk heritage.
“And just putting some aggression back into the music,” Cronos added. “I mean, heavy metal has always been ‘the devil’s music.’ They always say the devil has the best tunes, and I was bit frustrated at leaving school and being told that rock music was dead, and it had its day and everybody was finished with it. I had to absolutely disagree. So, when the New Wave of British Heavy Metal started in England — which became IRON MAIDEN, SAXON, SAMSON, and all these bands — I wanted to create something different from that. I appreciated that they were very heavily influenced by the ZEPPELINs, the PURPLEs, and the [BLACK] SABBATHs, and were trying to keep a hold of this ’70s vibe. I get all of that, but I wanted something that was kind of a cross between SABBATH and MOTÖRHEAD. Something more aggressive — with a bit of SEX PISTOLS in there, to get nasty.”
VENOM‘s 15th full-length studio album, “Storm The Gates”, was released in December 2018 through Spinefarm Records.
VENOM is not to be confused with VENOM INC., the band featuring Mantas alongside ex-VENOM bassist/vocalist Tony “Demolition Man” Dolan.
VENOM at the Inferno Festival 2022
Photo credit – Angelo Fumi
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