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Sons of Satan
Rare and Unreleased


Artist: Venom
Label: BMG
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 28 August 2020

BMG releases Sons of Satan: Rare and Unreleased – an album of early demo material recorded between 1979 and 1983 – by Venom, the band credited with creating the Black Metal sub-genre of music. It features the original line-up of Cronos, Mantas and Abaddon. The collection includes new sleeve notes and interviews, plus rare and unseen photos from the early years. The retail formats include a Gatefold 2-LP Splatter Vinyl, a Digipack CD, and Digital Download...

This release will unsettle – if not outright annoy many dedicated Venom fans, because by purchasing 2019’s large and very expensive In Nomine Satanas deluxe vinyl boxset, they have now lost the main rarity of interest therein to a mass market lower price release. Bands have done this sort of thing before, and I have no respect for the money-making enterprise at the expense of fan loyalty.

Early demos are always of interest to followers of music interested to learn of their origins. However, much as these recording have apparently gained a near mythical status, there is little here to satisfy the casual listener. As you might expect of original material from the early days, the sound quality is in most cases pretty poor. The first five tracks: 'Angel Dust'; 'Buried Alive'; 'Raise the Dead'; 'Red Light Fever'; and 'Venom' are all recorded rehearsals in 1979 at Westgate Road Church Hall in Newcastle’s West End. They also feature the original singer Clive Archer on vocals. Let’s be honest here and say that these songs are barely audible. Low rumbling bass and barely discerned vocals are all we get.

Tracks 6 to 15: 'Sons of Satan'; 'In League With Satan'; 'Angel Dust'; 'Live Like An Angel'; 'Schizo'; 'Venom; Angel Dust' (again); 'Raise the Dead'; 'Red Light Fever'; and 'At War With Satan' – incorporate £50 demos from 1980 recorded at Impulse Studios, further demos from the same year, and a single 1983 studio demo of 'At War With Satan'. I never really followed Venom (not my cup of Metal), but I must say that this latter batch are significantly clearer and so not a chore to listen to. I like the stop/start warts-and-all effect. It’s like having an ear to a promising amateur band playing in their garage. In my opinion, it’s eighties Traditional Metal with a Thrash edge. The Black Metal angle comes not from the music or mood created, but via the satanic song content.


Ty Power

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