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Venom - Sons of Satan: Rare and Unreleased

Sons of Satan: Rare and Unreleased
by Eric Poulin at 01 September 2020, 6:55 AM

VENOM is a NWOBHM/SpeedMetal band based out of Newcastle, England and have been around since 1979. The band have been around for 4 decades and really need no introduction. This release entitled “Sons of Satan: Rare and Unreleased” is a compilation released on August 28th 2020, through the BGM UK label. It includes recordings from 1979 to 1983 and are mostly demo versions of their classic material.

The compilation basically starts off with 1979 Church Hall recordings and begins with one of the 3 versions found on the album of “Angel Dust” which is about as gritty and dirty as it gets. Everything is extremely loud with a fair share of echo, making it difficult to hear the vocals. The next song “Buried Alive” with its keyboard atmospheres in the intro makes it much easier to listen to, as it definitely is not as chaotic and loud as the previous track. It is essentially the introduction to “Raise the Dead”, which you can hear the vocals when the music is lower in tone. It is very bass-oriented with some high tone guitar solos. The stench-filled “Red Light Fever” follows again with this maelstrom of noise and absolute insanity. It almost sounds like you have 3 songs playing at once.

It is a challenge to listen to this kind of material with so much reverb. Thankfully, the sound gets a lot more pleasing with the rocking “Sons of Satan” (1980 impulse version) a really nice return to what made NWOBHM so great in the first place, a ton of melodies, some booming bass lines and guitars to the max. The same can be said for the classic song “In League with Satan” except this version really has those distorted rock guitars at the forefront. It sounds like a more stripped-down version, which is a nice change. It is followed by the 2nd version of “Angel Dust” and this one is easier to listen to, it really has that 1980 IRON MAIDEN feel to it which makes it an undeniable choice when releasing a VENOM compilation. And trust me the high notes in the vocals are clearly audible in this one.

Live like an Angel” has a lot of comedy at the start with basically all the musicians messing around with their instruments. Once they get started this version going (yes there is a false start at one point), it really packs a powerful punch. This is where you really hear that MOTORHEAD influence on their material. “Schizo” with its dirty punk style is also a nice addition here and the same or the eponymous song “Venom” that just defines what loud rock what is in that era. The bass lines just pound through everything on this number.

There are a few songs that are repeated such as “Raise the Dead”, but they are a lot clearer in sound than the first few songs on the compilation. Finally, this journey into the crypts of demos ends with one of their masterpieces “At War with Satan”, honestly maybe one of the best-sounding versions on the entire record. Overall, this is an interesting addition to collectors of the originators of so many different styles we have in metal today. The beginning to be honest sounds atrocious, but the rest of the recordings sound very good considering their age and the more basic versions of the songs add a new dynamic to the classics I had never heard before. If you want to revisit the beginnings of a legendary band, you should check this out (but I recommend skipping the church hall recordings).

Songwriting:  8
Originality: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 7

4 Star Rating

1. Angel Dust
2. Buried Alive
3. Raise the Dead
4. Red Light Fever
5. Venom
6. Sons of Satan
7. In League with Satan
8. Angel Dust
9. Live like an Angel
10. Schizo
11. Venom
12. Angel Dust
13. Raise the Dead
14. Red Light Fever
15. At War with Satan
Cronos - Bass, Vocals (tracks 12-15)
Abaddon - Drums
Mantas - Guitars
Jesus Christ - Vocals (tracks 1-11)
Record Label: BMG


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Edited 03 December 2022

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