UK collective Venom Prison came on our radar back in 2018 on their massive tour taking over Europe while opening for Trivium and Power Trip. Their blend of ferocious death metal with a hardcore attitude and lyrics that are politically and socially aware, going against the norm of the death metal genre, made them stand out from the pack quite easily and firmly. Since then they’ve continued to prove themselves with impressive albums like ‘Samsara‘ and ‘Primeval‘, solidifying them as one of the bands that will keep the future of metal strong and vibrant. And now they’re back with their 4th full-length ‘Erebos‘, and it’s promising to be another big step up in their career!
With the intro track ‘Born From Chaos’ they’re proving to not be just a one trick pony, resolutely choosing for atmosphere instead of immediate pummeling with an almost tribal-like repetitive incantation that builds up to some epic guitar leads with Larissa Stupar‘s voice on top. It’s with ‘Judges Of The Underworld‘ that we get the first proper track, which also was our first taste of ‘Erebos‘ a while back. What starts off as a much groovier sounding almost melodeath track, is a scathing piece of criticism on the fucked-up judicial systems that will get you bobbing your head along pretty much instantly. I can already hear the crowd shouting along to the “guilty as charged” line, this will be absolutely killer live! And just when you think you have them pegged down, we get gorgeous guitar soloing to slowly build up to an almost classic breakdown moment where the tempo slows down and Larissa‘s vocals drop into low gutturals. While ‘Nemesis‘, a piece on abuse and the mental state of the victims, is as unpredictable as it gets with grooving riffs, high velocity rhythms that switch on a dime and an almost proggy feel, Larissa repeatedly shouting “I am the damaged one, You deserve all the damage done” manages to create that kind of hook that takes up shop in your head, hearing it long after the last notes of the song have faded away.
It was however with ‘Pain Of Oizys’ that they really got our heads turned. Even knowing that it’s coming on the album, after the high speed banger that is ‘Comfort Of Complicity’, including a guitar solo that is almost too pretty for a death metal track, a track like ‘Pain Of Oizys’ really hits home hard. Almost nothing else but a minimalist piano supporting the haunting and mesmerizing clean vocals from Larissa, that only in the chorus goes back into a more shouting mode. The whole song is understated with minimalistic instruments found even in the chorus, really hitting a home run on putting together a track that grabs you by the neck and takes you on a trip with Larissa‘s dealings with depression and PTSD. An absolutely massive track that proves you don’t need to go heavy to crush you. The sheer artistry continues with ‘Golden Apples Of The Hesperides’ that fittingly continues the atmospheric feeling from the earlier track until the band unleashes hell with one of their typically relentless tracks.
And throughout the rest of the album they continue to impress with the aggressive ‘Castigated In Steel And Concrete’ that features some electronic samples here and there, the blast that is ‘Gorgon Sisters’ with interesting soundscapes, fantastic growls and crushing riffs, the more classic Venom Prison sounding ‘Veil Of Night’, and lastly ‘Technologies Of Death’, which is a simply vicious and somewhat dissonant sounding track taking aim at capital punishment.
‘Erebos‘ is a massive and impressive album from Venom Prison, on which they manage to reinvent their formula without actually changing anything about themselves. Yes, sonically they’ve shifted into new realms by mixing in touches of progressiveness, but doing so without becoming overbearing or losing any of their harshness and edge. And while they’re more often than not pummeling you with their death metal ferociousness, they never forget about proper grooves and melodies at the right moments, at times giving their songs a classic melodeath sound. We can’t find anything bad on this album and absolutely love it from top to bottom. Venom Prison will gain a whole lot of new fans with this one and this is easily an early contender for the albums of the year lists!
Release date: February 4, 2022
Label: Century Media Records
- Born From Chaos
- Judges Of The Underworld
- Comfort Of Complicity
- Pain Of Oizys
- Golden Apples Of The Hesperides
- Castigated In Steel And Concrete
- Gorgon Sisters
- Veil Of Night
- Technologies Of Death