Essay: Venom – Black Metal

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Few albums have been so influential that they immediately spawned an entirely new genre of music. Newcastle, England trio Venom have arguably the largest claim to the creation of the genre of which this record is its namesake; the 1982 powerhouse Black Metal. Coming as a musical progression from thrash and the new wave of British heavy metal, which was only barely breaking into popularity at the time, metal acts began to perform in more and more extreme styles. Compared to modern black metal, however, this album seems relatively tame – the furiously high tempos and yelled vocals that black metal came to be associated with were to be developed later.

The idea of black metal was already being toyed with by Norwegian acts such as Emperor the time Venom decided to run with it; ironically, the spiritual creators of the genre saw it as more of a joke. Venom, as a band, helped establish the genre as a viable alternative to thrash, bringing their stage showmanship and pseudo-satanic imagery to a new audience. Black metal has always remained somewhat of an underground scene, which reflects in Venom’s raw vocal delivery and rough-around-the-edges production quality on this record.

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