October 1, 2017
The Masquerade (Hell)
In 2016 when it was announced that Venom Inc was hitting the road, I, like many other Venom fans found myself scratching my head and questioning the validity of this. Why do we need two Venoms? We have Cronos and his crew out there and now we have the Prime Evil era Venom touring as Venom Inc? Well, as we all know by now, there’s more the story. In a nutshell, Cronos hit Mantas when he was down and snagged the Venom name from under him while in a vulnerable place. Well, after a highly successful tour last year, Venom Inc proved loudly and very proudly who the real Venom was.
Not content with just being a mere nostalgia act, Venom Inc hit the studio and hit it hard resulting in one of 2018’s best metal releases, Ave. With a collection of new songs under their belt, Venom Inc once again hit the road and this time around something was different. There was such a heightened level of power, confidence, and pride that they had this time around. If they were just testing the waters last time around, this time around they were ruling the fucking seven seas.
Kicking things off with a “Ave Satanas” from the new album was such a bold statement as if to say, “We are an entity all our own.” The song was a perfect opening and the crowd reacted to it as if it were a 20+ year old classic. “Welcome to Hell” followed which got a roar from the crowd complete with pumping fists, moshing, and crowd surfing bodies. Venom Inc’s hour and a half set played like an anthology of Venom with classics such as “Live Like an Angel, Die Like a Devil”, “Warhead”, and “Countess Bathory” to name a few but it was the inclusion of Dolan era material like “Blackened Are the Priests” (Prime Evil) and “War” (Ave) that proved that these songs can stand just as tall and strong alongside the more classic Cronos era songs.
Watching Venom Inc live is something truly remarkable to behold. The connection that these three guys have together on stage is magnetic and it totally translates from the stage to the crowd. Watching them connect with each other and with each song as if they were just written yesterday is pure magic. Venom Inc could make a song like “Don’t Burn the Witch” and make it sound every bit as current and fresh as anything from the latest album. That not only is a true testament to the greatness of the song but to how powerful and how passionate the band can still play these songs 20+ years later.
When Venom Inc launched into their legendary genre spawning song “Black Metal”, the room erupted as the song that spawned a genre fill the room whipping the crowd into a frenzy. Hearing the crowd yell at the top of their lungs, “Lay down your soul to the gods, Rock N’ Roll” had me thrusting my fist and singing along with everyone else. The band returned to the stage for a one/two blow to the face with an encore of “Sons of Satan” and “Witching Hour” and then exited after draining themselves of all they had.
When you talk about a band leaving it all on the stage, Venom Inc is without a doubt one of those bands. No matter what they do or how well they do it they will always face a certain level of scrutiny. Call them what you want but after watching a couple of hundred folks chanting “VENOM! VENOM! VENOM!” after the band left the stage, I’d say it’s pretty safe to say that this is without a doubt the heart, the soul, and the blood of Venom. Now if we can just figure out what to call those other dudes who are out there touring as Venom we’ll be alright.