VENOM – Storm the Gates
Legendary black metal pioneers Venom, which is spearheaded by the inimitable Cronos (bass/vocals), have returned with a yet another pummeling assault on the senses following the near-flawless “From the Very Depths” (2015). I will be the first to admit that I had very high hopes for this one as I am extremely fond of its two predecessors, the aforementioned “From the Very Depths” and “Falling Angels” (2011), but sadly, “Storm the Gates” does not quite live up to my expectations as it is a tad uneven and uninteresting in places. Whereas the previous two records never lost momentum or fiery spirit, “Storm the Gates” contains a handful of filler songs, which is frustrating. Still, this is Venom that we are talking about, so fear not; there are obviously some killer cuts to be found on the disc in the shape of the instantly memorable “100 Miles to Hell”, the face-ripping “Dark Night (of the Soul)”, and the pounding “Suffering Dictates”. The slow-burning “Destroyer” also deserves praise for being pretty damn sinister. Rage delivers some wicked riffs and lethal solos, Dante’s bombastic drumming certainly packs a punch, and there is simply no other vocalist like the demonic Cronos out there, so, like I said, there are many cool and positive aspects to this brand-new effort of theirs too, but it lacks cohesion in terms of structure and quality.
In many ways, the album reminds me more of “Metal Black” (2006) than any other Venom release out there, which is perhaps due to the intentionally lo-fi production and the slightly more one-dimensional approach to blackened thrash metal that is on display here. There were more dynamics and layers to the fierce “From the Very Depths” and the rumbling “Falling Angels”, but again, “Storm the Gates” is not without its merits and I reckon most Venom die-hards out there will find it a satisfying listen as there is plenty of attitude, speed, and aggression to the ugly fucker.