Countess Bathory

Moving north of the border on Saturday it’ll be time to indulge in the remnants of what you could call extreme metal pioneers Venom. Even though listening to what was considered extreme in the 1980’s is very tame in comparison to some of the bands that have followed in their footsteps. 

I thought I’d seen Venom, Inc previously, but apparently I haven’t had the pleasure yet. I saw M:Pire of Evil though (pretty much a forerunner of Venom, Inc) in January of 2015 supporting Obituary in London Town. 

Very much like LA Guns, Saxon and until recently Queensryche, this is yet another band with warring ex members of the original band ploughing their own furrow on the musical landscape. 

As stated in a previous post I’m not the biggest Venom fan in the world, but when I was a youngster at school they seemed to be the controversial band to like at the time. 

I’ll be intrigued to see two of the classic trio of Mantas and Abaddon being fronted by Cronos’ replacement The Demolition Man putting their mark on an hours worth of classic NWOBHM tracks with the memory of those who now go under the Venom moniker pretty fresh in my mind. 

The Cronos version of the band performed at last years Bloodstock Festival sandwiched in between Corrosion of Conformity and the mighty Behemoth. The trio on stage certainly made a proper racket, exactly what you’d expect from Venom, although it was an uncompromising and pretty sloppy din at times it’s what you would have expected back in the early 80’s. From what I saw from M:Pire of Evil two years ago I’m expecting a much more refined and polished version of the Geordie outfit. Only four days to wait and put my curiosity to rest. It will also be only the sixth show by the band on what you could consider home turf. 

Countess Bathory was originally released on the band’s second album and genre naming release, Black Metal, bursting out of hell in 1982 and again via Neat Records. 


Witching Hour


Another weekend is petering out with battle ship grey rain clouds filing the skies – our typical British Summers never fail to deliver! It also means we are a few days closer to another long weekend for music fans to be pitching their tents on a grassy slope and preparing for another alcohol fuelled festival. 

My next experience for three days with the smells of chemical toilets and sizzling burgers filling the air and hitting the back of your nose begins in twelve days when I partake in my annual homage to the Bloodstock Festival for the eighteenth time since its 2001 inception. I might have mentioned this festival once or twice over the last 271 posts.

Over the next few days I’ll take a look at some of the bands appearing on the hallowed Catton Hall turf imminently and some of those who graced the stage within the Derby Assembly Rooms during the festivals early days. First up one of two bands announced during last years festivities. 

Bursting out of the banks of the river Tyne are Geordie black metal protagonists Venom. Firmly ensconced within the New Wave of British Heavy Metal tidal wave of the late 70’s Cronos, Abaddon and Mantas took their crude punk infused heavy metal, added some satanic imagery for some shock value and influenced a generation of musicians to play loud, fast and heavy – and proved it could be done with a limited ability. 

Over the years members have gone, musicians have arrived. The band have split, reunited, reinvented, argued and splintered. Currently there are two versions that could claim the name of Venom, but the one using the infamous logo features vocalist and bass player Cronos with a pair of hired hands. Also performing the same songs is Venom, Inc who feature Abaddon and Mantas along with Demolition Man who fronted the “proper” Venom between 1988 and 1993. 

For some reason the well worn and beaten up vinyl version of Welcome To Hell was swapped between the few metal heads at school and I don’t think anyone found the primitive metal on offer any good. I think it ended up in my possession at least twice. 

This will be my second time seeing a version of Venom and the first time in a decade. My only other experience was during the bands Metal Black cycle when they played the Academy 2 in Manchester in 2006. I can’t remember too much about that March evening, but I’m sure there were no pyrotechnics, something they were renowned for during their most influential period. Maybe with a larger stage we might get some fire spewing from the stage. 

Witching Hour is a song that has been covered quite a few times by bands as diverse as Kreator, High On Fire, Rykers,  Slayer and Mayhem. Taken from their debut album this live version is from the bands live video Hell At Hammersmith released in 1985.