VENOM

One of the most storied careers in metal has to be that of Venom.

The obnoxious trio of Cronos, Mantas, and Abaddon burst onto the scene in 1981 with Welcome To Hell, a poorly recorded, sloppily played, openly satanic, yet ultimately cool album that paved the way for the wave of black metal that wouldn't take hold for many years later.

Critics and fans alike were sharply divided at the prospect of this over-the-top band, but there is no question that that debut, and it's follow-up (the aptly titled Black Metal) are British metal landmarks.

But the novelty and intensity began to fade, and by the time of their fourth album (Possessed) it was clear that Venom was in trouble.

Personality conflicts arose, with guitarist Mantas leaving, and the resulting album (the poorly-received Calm Before The Storm) featured little of the trademarks that had made the early work so great.

Cronos then departed himself, taking Mantas' replacements with him, and Mantas then returned, and along with new bassist/vocalist Tony Dolan (ex-Atomkraft), a new Venom was born. Though no longer black metal, and in fact not sounding much like in their old days, this period of Venom did produce some decent albums, though in retrospect many of them seem quite forgotten.

Much of the 90's releases by Venom seemed to be endless compilations or re-recordings of past glories, and Venom's popularity slipped further.

Eventually, in 1997, Cronos and Mantas put their differences aside, and reunited, first releasing the mediocre Cast In Stone but later (after another breakup) producing the much-improved Resurrection, (the first and thus far only album not to feature drummer Abaddon), arguably one of the best albums they've ever done.

After yet another period of inactivity Cronos was back in action in February 2004, now working with new guitarist Mykus on the next Venom album.

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