Tuesday, February 8, 2011

road therapy / venom

Cast In Stone
1997 / SPV/Steamhammer

"Underrated" and "Venom" are two words you wouldn't imagine inhabiting even the same paragraph without invoking Satan's minions on each other's ass, but that's what 'Cast In Stone' is. Not enough people seem to realize that it is by far and away the best Venom album ever. It's not the most important, of course, not the most influential, not the one that's most etched in our collective memory, but it's the one to take to the car if you feel like listening to some pure fucking brutalicious metal on your way to, erm, the supermarket. Besides, it keeps your old-school cred intact because it's the album that took advantage of a rare window of opportunity - the first and only time since the first four albums that the original line-up of Cronos, Mantas and Abaddon managed to keep together without self-destructing for enough time to actually record something. 

And it shows. It's a long and diverse record .- from the slow-burning doomthrash menace of 'Bleeding' or 'Destroyed & Damned', to the fat groove of 'All Devils Eve' or 'You're All Gonna Die', the Voivod-ish dissonance of 'Domus Mundi' or massive closer 'Swarm' and the sheer hyperspeed brutality of absolute highlight 'Flight Of The Hydra', there's everything for everyone here. If you're into metal, you're gonna be into at least something on this album. Cronos hasn't sounded this enraged before or since, his growls and deep snarls carry a truly frightening tone of hostility, and I swear his wink is audible as he sneers "welcome ye to hell" during 'God's Forsaken'. The bonus CD with a bunch of old classics re-recorded is just the icing on the cake of a remarkable album. I hope they play lots off this when I see them headlining SWR in a couple of months.

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