“…we had to do something a little special so we did take a little bit more time than we probably should’ve but we just wanted the album to be perfect and knew we had to hit a home run with this album because the last album was so strong and very popular with the legion, this album had to be even better.”
From release: Venom, the hugely influential British heavy metal trio widely revered for driving and shaping many aspects of the music industry, including black and thrash metal, plus their instinctive blending of metallic power and punk spirit released their new studio album, ‘From The Very Depths’ in January via Spinefarm Records / Caroline Australia. The band are led by vocalist / bassist and original Venom titan, Cronos – who decided against making fans the world over wait too long for this powerful new 14-track release which is the follow-up to 2011’s ‘Fallen Angels’…
Interrupting his ‘usual’ as he put it, you know, black magic coven, worshiping dead and killing virgins, we chatted to Rage of Venom about the band’s new album ‘From The Very Depths’, new music, how it’s changed, touring Australia and more…
Now I have to start off by mentioning that there was a four year gap between albums, was the intention to take this long between releases?
No, it’s just the way things happen, it’s getting harder and harder and harder to record albums now on a record label and with money and stuff like that, but ‘Fallen Angels’ was a breakthrough album for us, it was an album that we wanted to do for years but we didn’t have the line-up that was capable of doing that sort of album, so we knew that on the next album which became ‘From The Very Depths’ we had to do something a little special so we did take a little bit more time than we probably should’ve but we just wanted the album to be perfect and knew we had to hit a home run with this album because the last album was so strong and very popular with the legion, this album had to be even better. So yeah we just put a little bit more effort into it, a little more time and it takes four years to summon it sometimes.
So did this time between records help shape what became ‘From The Very Depths’?
Yeah, we were doing a few festivals and stuff like that and it was like we go ‘right, this is the time to start being serious and all that’ and festival dates would appear and we’d go and do them and that knocked us around a little bit, but yeah, we recorded quite a while ago but kept going back and shaping it a little but more, just making it a little more technical and tighter and a little harder and I think it’s worked to our advantage because it’s come out a very cohesive album. The next album won’t take four years, we’re going to start on that one at the end of this year, make sure there’s not a four year gap.
You mentioned the process of putting it together, did you do anything differently to try and get that vibe that you wanted?
Yeah, yeah, on the last album what we did was we came in with each member with complete songs or half a song and we’d finish it off or stuff like that, whereas this time it was all done very spontaneously in the rehearsal room. We used to jam a lot and do ten or fifteen minute versions up to two hours of just one song just jamming, going mad, doing what Purple and Zeppelin used to do in the 70’s, then we’d go back and listen to it after a week or so and just pick choice bits out, someone would be blasting out a riff, Cronos would come in and then would complete it that way or him and Dante would be doing that. We just wanted it a little bit more organic even though it’s not as structured as we did on the last one, where it was like I think you could tell the songs that offset people on the last album where on this one what you would probably expect to be a typical Venom song maybe was not off Cronos you know? It was maybe something that me and Dante started off, and I think it worked better and like I said I think a little more organic and more strength to it than the last album.
Obviously with Cronos the main man in the band from its beginnings, so is the song writing now really more of a collaboration between the band?
Yeah I believe he wants it that way, he wants it to be a band you know? If it was just going to be a solo one then he probably would’ve recorded ten or fifteen albums in the four years *laughs* you know what I mean? As each person we’re very prolific in writing songs but he wants Venom to be a band thing, we all do, we all want this to be going on for ten or twenty more years do you know what I mean? We’re all good song writers, that’s what we all wanted to do when we were growing up and me personally I knew I wasn’t going to be the best guitarist in the world when we’ve had some people like Yngwie Malmsteen and people like that, but I wanted to be a really good song writer and that’s what Venom has afforded me. Cronos didn’t want it to be just the Cronos show, that would be very boring for him and very boring for us and he’s always encouraging new songs and we love putting in new riffs and stuff like that, it would be boring for us going on stage and playing a complete set of somebody else’s songs, that’s not what we became musicians for.
In the eight or so years since you’ve been in the band, what has been the most eye opening thing about being in Venom?
Yeah officially it’s been eight years but I joined the band in December of 2006 but it was officially announced in February of 2007, so yeah eight years… and probably just the amount of passion the fans have got for the band after thirty odd years, it’s unbelievable that the gigs we’ve just been doing there’s a lot of new fans getting into the band which is absolutely amazing, but there’s people that have been there from the start and they’ve got the same sort of drive and love for the band and respect and that tales a lot you know what I mean? That’s probably been the most eye opening bit… you get to see really young kids into the music and the really old dogs together having respect for each other and that’s amazing you know.
On the other side of that, Venom is often cited as an influence for many a band even all the way down here in Australia with the likes of a band named Bastardizer and many more, now do you keep on top of new bands out there to see what’s happening?
Yeah, yeah, yeah I mean I’m a very avid record collector I don’t get stuff for free, I pay for music and the last couple of years I’ve given a massive effort to get into newer bands, there are a couple of bands who are my favourites that just so happen to be British bands as well, there’s a bad called ‘Voices’ which is made up of a couple of members of a band called Akercocke which the seemingly brilliant Australian Matt Wilcox used to be in from The Berzerker and they’re amazing, they’re like an extreme black metal art band and they’re amazing, their new album ‘London’ which came out at the tail end of last year that’s one of the best albums I’ve heard for years. There’s another British band called Talanas and they’re a sort of a progressively, death, black metal band and they’re really, really good. Yeah I just try and get into as many up and coming bands as I can, like when we’re on tour a lot of bands come up and give us CD’s so I collect them and make an effort to buy some of their stuff, you know what I mean?
Well make sure you check out Bastardizer, I think you’ll dig them…
I will, man. There’s a very strong Australian scene, like I said Berzerker has been going for years, I’m a big death metal fan and it has that kind of gamma death metal stuff and that’s awesome.
I do have to ask, any chance we might see you in Australia in the near future?
Yeah we’d love to, a couple of years ago we were so close to coming over but there was a breakdown with the promoter, but last year we were supposed to play Japan and we were going to try and get some dates around then, unfortunately that got cancelled but we’re talking about coming over to Japan this year so hopefully we’ll try and get some Australian dates in you know? It’s one of the places we’ve never been yet, we’ve been to other countries the last five or six years in a lot of places we’ve never been and we’ve seen South America every couple of years be absolutely awesome. To get to Australia, I’ve got family over there and we’ve never been there as a band but have heard great things but we’re just worried that once we come over you’ll not be able to get rid of us, just a parasite that locks in and then the next thing we’ll turn the country into exactly like it was on Mad Max. If you do get us over there you’ll have to be warned *laughs* just any promoter from Australia, get in touch man, get us over there, everyone keeps asking us, it’ll take a promoter with a titanic set of cohunes to get us over there for some satanic overload. I mean you’ve got that Soundwave festival over there, they’ve never been in touch with us, maybe they’re scared of Satan coming over and taking over the country but I think it’s about time you got a good band from Blighty coming over and warming up the nobles…
What’s your take on where Black and Death Metal is today compared to its beginnings?
It goes through cycles you know what I mean? I grew up with metal in the 70’s but I took a real effort to get to as many bands as I could during the 80’s and that’s when Death metal sort of took off in the 80’s and stuff like that, I don’t know is it the second wave of Black metal, like the Norwegian bands and stuff like that and then there was a bit of a lull during the 90’s. For me, Death metal seems to be taking off and Cannibal Corpse are our friends and they’ve always been flying the flag for years and there seems to be some other bands that are creeping through and seeping through the woodwork, but yeah, as I said, Voices from the UK, they’ve taken Black metal into a completely different sort of phase, taken the atmosphere and run which is really good because I think a lot of these Norwegian bands much like Venom was more about the atmosphere and had an impending doom and these Norwegian bands took it and amplified that kind of feel. I don’t know, it just seems to go through stages and takes people to just try and wade through all the shit to find the good stuff *laughs* but I’m all for it because I love underground extreme metal, it’s one of my favourite genres, it’s not the biggest genre, you’re not going to make a million pounds off it, but once you get into this genre it’s really worthwhile.
Let’s throw in some quick fire questions to get an insight into you:
First album you ever bought?
Black Sabbath ‘Sabbath Bloody Sabbath’
What band or artist made you want to be a rockstar?
Favourite live band to see?
Do you have a guilty music pleasure you listen to that no one would expect?
Carpenters and Beth Hart, she’s awesome
Lastly, let’s predict the future, so finish this sentence for me, by the end of 2015, Venom will…
Take over the world with Satanic darkness *laughs*
and true… *laughs*
Well man, thanks for a great chat, hopefully we’ll see you down here soon…
Yeah I hope so, honestly we’re doing everything we can to get down there, it’s the last frontier you know what I mean, we need it, we need to get over there and we need to destroy *laughs*
Band members: Cronos, La Rage, Dante
Latest release: From The Very Depths – (Out Now – Caroline Australia / Spinefarm)