Ramon : There is almost no escaping to once more tell the story of the beef between the three Venom members who recorded the legendary and very influential albums 'Welcome To Hell' and 'Black Metal'. Bottom line is, the damage is done, and won't be repaired, so instead of no Venom, we now have two Venoms. One with singer Cronos, and this incarnation with three members that once before were standard bearers of the name and pride of Venom. And they still do that, maybe even more so than ever before. Where Venom used to do a couple of shows a year, and still does, Venom Inc heads over to anywhere they are wanted in order to enable as many fans as possible to see this material live, and, which is really a novelty, meet the members in person. And everyone benefits from that, really. The band reached a totally new level before the recording of this album. Years of live seasoning proceeded the crafting of 'Avé'. And it shows.
I can be very short about it, which in the end I can never do, but this is traditional metal the way you want it to be. I go a little further. This is the epitome of metal. Everything you want it to be, only even better. When you hear that guitar sound of Mantas, there is simply no match. Tony Dolan is everything you dream of in a frontman. And you have never heard Abaddon this relentless in your life. But the three of them combined give it just that little bit of extra. An album with a broad pallet of colours, all of which are black of course.
The single 'Dein Fleish' was on a shelf for a while for the band M:Pire Of Evil (the other band of Mantas and Demolition Man) and it was quite an unexpected choice as the first single. The rest of the disk displays aggression, darkness and all this served with a light-hearted nature that makes it a friendly animosity that is nice to consume. But a song like 'Forged In Hell' for instance, of which the opening riff reminds a lot from that 'Welcome To Hell', is much more explosive. And you will understand right away what I said about Abaddon. And that goes for a lot of the songs.
The closer 'Black N Roll' (I am not reviewing all the songs, you go check that out yourself) is both musically and lyrically an homage to the gods that not have only been important for the band, but for the seasoning of metal as such. The anti-war sentiment in 'War' was something of a shift I had to adapt to, but it makes sense now and the whole puzzle just fits. The songs all have a strong identity of their own, but in the end they all contribute to the central identity of the entire disk. This is by far the most coherent album this line-up has ever made. With a solid tribute to the legacy, this above all is a big step into the future. A future, if I had a saying, will be long and prosperous.
Will this become the album of the year? I don't think it will, but it sure will be high on my list. Mine, as well a select bunch of metalheads with a refined taste for pure metal and with an open view. Fact remains that your event horizon in terms of what you know about the band is seriously shifted with 'Avé'. Mantas has always had magic clinging on his side. So he is sparkling as ever, but the least unexpected element on the album. Lucky for us, I'd say. Abaddon has grown tremendously through all the live experience and the pressure that is put on him by that obligation. Tony "The Demotion Man" Dolan has work tirelessly for the band and without him I doubt they would ever have gotten to the front doors they comfortably stepped through now. And that is most beautiful about it all. He finally gets the recognition that all the background noise in the past denied him, despite his efforts without ulterior motives, without his ego getting in the way, to let the music of Venom and his friend Mantas live on. And now, a fat record deal, a touring history surpassing the history of his band mates every single month, an endorsement deal with Bo~EL Guitars and one fantastic album further, we can't do anything else but concluding he worked hard, took a lot of set-backs, but it finally pays off. By the fans themselves. The legions have pledged their allegiance to this alliance.