3/31/17 Retro Friday

It’s interesting to me how far the social acceptance has come for the heavy music scene over the years.  Although you still have those that swear by their deities that all us metal fans are going to burn in hell for our blasphemic music.  Regardless of what metaphysical belief you hold, there is one sub-genre that still reigns as the most diabolical…Black Metal.  For most, the black metal genre is more than annoying with the lo-fi sound and screeching demonic vocals.  Not to mention the overly satanic lyrics.  Bands like Satyricon and Immortal have made long careers not only with that content but also about frigid Norwegian winters.  The music, for most bands, has evolved into more complex and hi-fi sounds.  Bands like the aforementioned and others; Dark Fortress, Emperor, Belphegor, Gorgoroth, Watain, etc, have begun to expand their musical content.  Lyrically though, not much has changed which is something that has always intrigued me about the genre.  It keeps the pure and raw core alive and well.  Hardcore fans will say that the simple movement from lo-fi to hi-fi is a betrayal to the scene.  Do I have the balls to say that Dark Throne has betrayed the scene by moving into a punk sound or that Burzum has by moving to the avant-garde sound he has now?  Probably not, but that’s the beauty of this genre…the constant evolution and different approaches.  So why all of this discussion?  This week I wanted to look into some of the roots of the black metal, Venom.  The irony of the band is that there has been much discussion about where they fall…thrash, black, speed, etc but this is definitely a band that I would credit for much of the black metal movement.  Believe it or not we wouldn’t have black metal, or any metal for that matter, as we know it without Venom.  In 1981, the band released its first record Welcome to Hell and overall this album is a must have classic for any metal fan.  This album is great for so many reasons, the most important being that Venom essentially created something of their own.  It contains the satanic imagery associated with black metal today but also a thrash heavy arrangement that will speak to any number of fans out there.  With the title track and others like “Sons of Satan” this album is one that will feed the evil within for a period of time.  The track “In League with Satan” has a hypnotic trance and tribal rhythm to it that deviates from the thrash elements slightly to give it that ominous feel.  Many of the classic bands that paved the way have attributed Venom as an influence so their obscurity is extremely disappointing.  Do yourself a favor and those around you and blast this album (and the rest of their discography) this weekend.  You will not regret it.

Track Listing:

  1. Sons of Satan
  2. Welcome to Hell
  3. Schizoid
  4. Mayhem with Mercy
  5. Poison
  6. Live Like an Angel
  7. Witching Hour
  8. One Thousand Days of Sodom
  9. Angel Dust
  10. In League with Satan
  11. Red Light Fever