Venom: Metal Black 

Just when you thought you would never hear from Venom again, they return with a new album entitled Metal Black. This is the band that helped coin the term "black metal" in the early '80s, to describe a sub genre of darker metal. The album title itself seems like a desperate plea to aging fans who have been disappointed with the latest Venom albums. Their second and arguably most popular release, 1982's Black Metal put them on the heavy metal radar, and now in 2006 they appear to be attempting to duplicate that success. If just rearranging the words of the title seems a little cheesy, then the fact that they used the same image for the cover of both albums is a straight cop-out. The good thing is, if you are a fan of Venom, then this is as straight-up black metal as it gets, with heavy, fast, screaming guitars that would make Eddie Van Halen repent. Venom brings nothing new to the table, but who wants to mess with the formula? Song titles include "Death and Dying," "A Good Day to Die," "Blessed Dead," "Assassin" and "Sleep when I'm Dead." One might be led to believe that Venom is attempting a concept album, but don't worry. The somewhat humorous lyrics are only overshadowed by the band members' interesting and hard to pronounce names: Cronos, Mykvs and Antton. Rejoice, because Venom have finally returned to save or destroy music (depending on your interpretation). The main draw is to hope for a tour that will inevitably include fire, satanic images, Spandex and thinning mullets. I will be the first one there.

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