Venom: the supposed granddaddies of black metal, the most overrated metal band of the last 20 years, just plain old men. Yep, the three-headed beast of burl returns with its umpteenth album, Resurrection, sounding much too weathered and way past their bedtime. Shamefully and self-consciously pandering to "the kids" born in the mid '80s who are just now discovering black metal, as well as to "the fans" who've stuck with the band after all these years (yeah, right), Venom resurrect all the cliches that have endeared them to legions of corpse-painted flunkies - I mean, just peep such titles as "Black Flame of Satan" and "War Against Christ" and not try to chuckle - the whole of the album set to a politely mid-paced death-metal thud none-too-inconspicuously one-upped by recent Six Feet Under. Granted, Venom don't take themselves too seriously (or, at least they shouldn't now). Sure, we have them to thank for early Sigh, post-Transylvanian Hunger Darkthrone, everything by Carpathian Forest, and a shitload of shitty tribute albums. And, yeah, Resurrection might suit one of those elusive "kick back with a few cold ones and - oh, yeah - that new, har-har-hard rockin' Venom album" moments (not likely, though). But seriously, kids: mommy n' daddy's money is better spent elsewhere - like, uh, on something actually good. And you wistful, equally old metalheads? May nostalgia be the death of you.
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Nathan T. Birk