VENOM - Storm The Gates
December 19, 2018, a month ago
Though Venom is mostly known for its massively influential early '80s albums, the band has had a bit of a late-career creative resurgence as 2015's From The Very Depths was the group's best effort since its '80s heyday. Now, with its fifteenth album Storm The Gates, Venom continues to write listenable material that furthers the band's catalogue and re-affirms its place in the present day.
That said, while From The Very Depths' strength was its surprisingly very straight-ahead metal songwriting, Storm The Gates re-integrates punk, Venom's other primary influence, to create a slightly different beast. But that's not a real surprise, because Venom's been writing with punk flourishes since the beginning and Cronos very clearly knows how to write riffs that are fast, efficient, memorable, and smouldering. Seriously, the riffs here are something to behold, so many of them channeling the best of Venom's catalogue and still setting the bar for the many other groups still trying to emulate Venom's grime. Add in the charmingly old-school production (especially on the drums, and the toms specifically), and you've got an effort that is prototypical Venom, and successfully so. Which is more than most bands can say after even only a fraction of the almost 40 years Venom has been active in the metal world.
So while the immediate thought is that Storm The Gates doesn't match the heights set by From The Very Depths, you realize after a few listens that Storm The Gates actually is on par with its predecessor, but Venom has this time written with its old friend punk in mind. The tension between metal and punk has always been one of Venom's strengths, and it’s captured in very alive ways here.