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Nuclear Blast (2017)
Rating: 10/10

Venom Inc. has been slugging it out on the road, live, for the last couple of years without a record to promote. You wanna know why? Because Venom Inc. is a band that loves the music and loves it fans. That’s it. So it didn’t matter that they didn’t have anything to promote.

But the fans loved it. And when the lads saw that fan reaction, and felt it onstage, they knew they had to put a record out. You can’t have talent like Abbadon, Mantas, and Demolition Man and not put out new music. Eventually it’s gonna happen and happen it did.

Avé is Venom Inc.’s debut courtesy of Nuclear Blast and features original Venom members Jeff “Mantas” Dunn (guitar) and Anthony “Abaddon” Bray (drums), alongside former Venom member Tony “Demolition Man” Dolan (vocals / bass). Yes, the trio are back together again and, dare I say… stronger than ever? Hell yeah I’ll say it.

There’s been a lot of back and forth in the press recently regarding original bass player Cronos and his version of Venom butting heads with Abbadon, Mantas and Demolition Man, not all of it pretty. But metal isn’t supposed to be pretty, at least not the brand of steel Venom Inc. unleashes. All trash talking aside, in the end it comes down to who’s putting out better music and putting on the best live show. Venom Inc. wins hands down.

Avé is a big record with an even bigger sound and vision. Essentially, the way I see it, it’s a declaration of war. It’s putting everyone on notice that Venom Inc. is in full takeover mode and nothing will stop them from dominating all that is music and all that is metal.

Tony Dolan is no stranger to the Venom world. Hell, he made three full-length albums with the band between 1989 and 1992 and there’s the three records he did with M-Pire Of Evil, also featuring Mantas and Abbadon. So, the Demolition Man’s tested and has nothing to prove. His stage presence is only overshadowed by the strength of his voice that’s a wrecking ball of an instrument. The aptly titled third track ‘Metal We Bleed’ is 110 per cent proof of this. Plus, it’s a real throwback to the classic Black Metal (1982) sound Venom (Inc.) fans dig just stronger, thicker and heavy like a brick wall.

In fact, to describe the sound of this record, is simply to associate it with classic Venom; the first three records, just updated. Early Venom had a raw and primal sound and energy to it, much the same way that Hellhammer and Celtic Frost did also, but what you have to understand is that the extreme metal movement that began back then was still in its infancy. What you’re hearing on Avé is Venom Inc., new and improved, 30 plus years experience of playing live, sounding tighter and heavier than ever.

If this record sounded like Black Metal now, I’d have to question why the guys haven’t evolved since then. Avé though is about as heavy and hard hitting as a record can be and it’s definitely Venom Inc.’s unique “voice” that’s unmistakable. It’s still the same band, just bulked out and ten times more aggressive.

You know, I have to say, for a debut record (of sorts) Avé is beyond impressive. Considering the fact that Mantas and Abbadon has been around since the early 80s, holy hell these two sound better than they ever have. Venom Inc. is three guys who are invested in what they’re doing and it shows on this record. If you haven’t bought it yet, do so now. You’ll thank me for it later. Battle vest worthy.

Theron Moore

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