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Venom Inc, Vader, Divine Chaos, Witches @ Underworld, London, UK

VENOM INC / VADER / Divine Chaos / Witches
in Tuesday, 22 September 2015 at Underworld
by Mike Coyle

*Photography: Michelle Woolnough

When we think back through the history of tonight’s two main bands, we see a legacy that has helped to both shape and structure the extreme metal sub-genre, with both bands playing two classic sets of songs that rarely anyone will ever hear live we cannot help but cherish the fact that we are being given this chance at all. Honestly, for myself being witness to the awesome nature of this show I can say that this was one for the history books. So it is my pleasure to report on this show for you and to give every detail that I can from the Underworld, so as the old saying goes, “Welcome to Hell!”

To be fair, before the show I knew nothing on this band, in all honesty I really had no idea what to expect really as with new bands for me I am always very cautious. For this act I really did not need to be at all. Having being fronted by a women that can not only shred but has some of the tightest vocals I've heard. I gave this band a chance out of the curiosity of seeing what they were made of and how they would win over their newfound fans, for a lot of bands opening for the likes of VADER and VENOM INC. it can be tough to win over a very dedicated crowd and to see if they can make the cut. I certainly feel that WITCHES indeed made the cut and then some.

Showing off original ideas while adding touches of different influences both guitar and vocal wise, WITCHES brings a new element to the extremity of 21st century mayhem and madness with ripping chords and blasted drums. They showed what they are capable of in the very best way possible as well as bringing it hard with an old school beat down the likes of no other I have seen in a long while. I look forward to seeing what WITCHES will be doing for the future and with any hope I might see them in Manchester one of these days as well.

Since my last time watching DIVINE CHAOS, which so happen to be at this year’s SODOM show at the Underworld I can safely say that the band have not changed and have remained a band with energy to spare as well as a crowd with such loyalty that it will bring a tear to your eye. The band as before proved to London why they deserved their place on the bill with tracks from their latest opus entitled “A New Dawn in the Age of War”, which is something I would certainly advise checking out. With the band’s set you could see that every song was an energy boost for everyone in that crowd as I really feel that this band has something which you don't find in a lot of new bands: a loyalty to the fans that shows no bounds. You could see it in the faces of fans of all ages; these guys are an incredible if not brilliant act to watch live and it still makes me wonder why I haven't seen these guys ripping it up down in Manchester. From what I saw, the band are getting better with every live performance and I really feel that DIVINE CHAOS are a band that will inspire guitarists and frontmen alike.

This is the second time this year that we have been able to see VADER play the London Underworld, bringing two massive sets of mind-destroying Death Metal. The only difference is that this time we would see the band go back into the catalogue to play a rare set of 1985 – 1990 material which honestly has been one of the best times that I have seen the band live. I have been lucky enough to have seen them three times now and have been able to witness the band’s chemistry as one of Poland’s reigning masters of the extreme metal sub-genre. What made it special for me as a fan was not only the rare set but the fact you could feel this energy coming off the band, different in some way as I feel it is to do with the fact that the band were supporting one of their heroes to which they have covered in the past on the record “Necropolis”.

The set presented itself as a solid and very aggressive force of nature giving fans both old and new a look back at the bands history from the start of VADER’s career. When watching a show like this you can't help but admire a band that gives this opportunity to the fans and with how the crowd would reacted I am not really surprised that they were this excited. To sum up what I saw from where I was stood the crowd acted almost like a meat grinder in that there was literally no space of floor that wasn't getting covered in violence, which is a sure sign to say that it truly was the show to be at that night.

We now come to the end of the show with the one band that so many have been waiting to see, a line-up consisting of the fundamental members of VENOM: Tony Dolan (The Demolition Man), Jeff Dunn (Mantas) and Tony Bray (Abaddon). The line-up is most known for being the “Prime Evil” era of the band. Although I can say I enjoy both line-ups of the band I enjoy this line-up mainly because I feel this is VENOM in its purest form and a band that still knows how to bring it hard. The last time I saw “Demolition Man” and Mantas it was this year with M:PIRE OF EVIL at the Electric Ballroom in London, where they played some of the VENOM catalogue.

However, this time around I really felt something strong with how the band were going about playing these classic master works and that was in fact the heart and the soul that VENOM stand for: giving to the fans everything they had without showing signs of being even one bit tired. To be honest it was like looking a beast in the eyes when there’s nowhere to run and certainly nowhere to hide and that's really the best way I can describe it. I have been lucky to have seen both ‘VENOM bands’ this year which I feel has given me reasonable ground to say that VENOM INC really is the VENOM that we all knew and loved growing up. I mean, seeing this band playing these songs, from “Countess Bathory” to “Black Metal” as well as “Don't Burn the Witch” and “Die Hard” there really are no words to say just because for a lot of us at this show it is basically a childhood dream to be able to see these guys still going strong.

I would say that the energy from this show was one of the best you could experience,  as when you’re in a room full of some of the most loyal metal fans you'll ever meet that’s when you feel right at home and that’s when you know that life really is splendid. Great friends awesome bands and most of all getting to see one of my guitar heroes, Jeff Dunn, doing what he does best, bringing some of the most iconic riffs to the Underworld.

1. Prime Evil
2. Die Hard
3. Don't Burn the Witch
4. Live Like an Angel (Die Like a Devil)
5. One Thousand Days in Sodom
6. Warhead
7. Buried Alive
8. Raise the Dead
9. Schizo
10. The Seven Gates of Hell
11. Sons of Satan
12. Bloodlust
13. Warhead
14. Welcome to Hell
15. Black Metal
16. Countess Bathory
17. Witching Hour


Promoter: Old Empire
Ticket Price: 25 GBP


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Edited 30 January 2023

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