Heavy Metal Extreme Metal
Side A ("Black")
1. "Black Metal" 3:40
2. "To Hell and Back" 3:00
3. "Buried Alive" 4:16
4. "Raise the Dead" 2:45
5. "Teachers' Pet" 4:41
Side B ("Metal")
6. "Leave Me in Hell" 3:33
7. "Sacrifice" 4:27
8. "Heaven's on Fire" 3:40
9. "Countess Bathory" 3:44
10. "Don't Burn the Witch" 3:20
Venom are an English heavy metal band that formed in 1979 in Newcastle upon Tyne. Coming to prominence towards the end of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, Venom's first two albums—Welcome to Hell (1981) and Black Metal (1982)—are considered a major influence on thrash metal and extreme metal in general. Venom's second album proved influential enough that its title was used as the name of an extreme metal subgenre: black metal.
Venom's original personnel came from three different bands: Guillotine, Oberon and DwarfStar. The original Guillotine featured Jeffrey Dunn and Dave Rutherford on guitars, Dean Hewitt on bass guitar, Dave Blackman on vocals and Chris Mercaters on drums. Blackman and Mercater were replaced by drummer Anthony Bray (b. 17 September 1957 in Newcastle) and vocalist Clive Archer of Oberon and soon after, Dean Hewitt was replaced by Alan Winston on bass. Around this time Jeffrey Dunn came up with the name venom. in the late summer of 1979, Conrad Lant from the bands DwarfStar and Album Graecum replaced Rutherford.
A few days before a show at a local church hall, Winston left the band. To fill in, Lant borrowed a bass guitar from Steve Thompson (later to become Venom's first producer). Playing the show with the borrowed bass plugged into his Marshall guitar amp and effects pedals, he created an unnerving racket and the 'Bulldozer Bass' was born.
Venom's lyrics often featured Satanic references, and the band members took on new stage names. Archer became 'Jesus Christ', Lant 'Mr. Cronos', Bray 'Tony Abaddon', and Dunn 'Jeff Mantas'.
As Venom were one of the first incarnations of extreme metal, influencing many thrash metal, black metal, death metal and other extreme metal bands, their exact genre has been a topic of debate. Venom has been labeled various genres by members of the press. Most prominent genres are black metal, thrash metal, and speed metal.
Venom often used Satanic and other 'evil' themes in their lyrics, but critic Bradley Torreano declared that the band had "their tongues planted firmly in their cheeks", with a sense of humor and irony that was sometimes lost on their fans and other musicians. Torreano adds that Venom "caught the attention of both metalheads and punks, the band was emulated by the former and turned into camp icons by the latter."
When asked about the criminal actions or violent behaviour of some later black metal bands (notably, there were a string of arsons and a few murders in the Norwegian black metal community in the 1990s), Venom's members reportedly expressed disapproval, stating the point of Venom is to make controversial music, and "How can you make albums and tour if you are in jail?".
Although they didn't make it to MTV's top 10 heavy metal bands list, they were given an "honorable mention."
Conrad "Cronos" Lant – bass guitar, vocals (1979–1987, 1995–present)
La Rage – guitar (2007–present)
Danny "Dante" Needham – drums (2009–present)
Jeffrey "Mantas" Dunn – guitar (1979–1986, 1989–2002)
Anthony "Abaddon" Bray – drums (1979–1999)
Clive "Jesus Christ" Archer – vocals (1979–1980)
Mike "Mykvs" Hickey – guitar (1986–1987, 2005–2007)
Jim Clare – guitar (1986–1987)
Tony "Demolition Man" Dolan – vocals, bass guitar (1989–1992)
Alastair "Big Al" Barnes – guitar (1989–1991)
Steve "War Maniac" White – guitar (1992)
Antony "Antton" Lant – drums (2000–2009)
Studio albums and EPs
Welcome to Hell (1981)
Black Metal (1982)
At War with Satan (1984)
Calm Before the Storm (1987)
Prime Evil (1989)
Tear Your Soul Apart (EP) (1990)
Temples of Ice (1991)
The Waste Lands (1992)
Venom '96 (EP) (1996)
Cast in Stone (1997)
Metal Black (2006)
Fallen Angels (2011)
Eine Kleine Nachtmusik (1986)
From Hell to the Unknown (1985)
The Singles 1980-1986 (1986)
The Book of Armageddon (Best of) (1992)
Skeletons In The Closet (1993)
Kissing the Beast (1993)
New, Live and Rare (1998)
Old New Borrowed & Blue (1999)
In League with Satan (2002)
MMV (Box set) (2005)