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Landing somewhere between a filthy, Satanic spin on the New-Wave-of-British-Heavy-Metal scene and what would become known as speed metal, there had never been anything quite like Venom's first album Welcome to Hell when it first roared forth into the world in December of 1981. Pissed-off, derisive, fast-as-fuck, dirty as a convent whore and rawer than waste from the Devil's Own Cesspit, Venom seized the attention of the metal underground and never let go.

In addition to introducing an ironically progressive stripped-down, retrograde approach to metal, Venom also brought a new attitude: an unequivocal, intense, gleeful embrace of Satanic evil, unseen in the metal of the seventies. Obviously, metal is rooted in darkness and the occult, so these are common themes genre-wide, but for some early-eighties bands like Venom and Mercyful Fate, Evil wasn't just subject matter for a song, Evil was the reason for the song... and for everything else. An immersive love of Darkness and a scornful hatred of the Light permeated every aspect of their music in a way that the world had never before seen.

Venom's combination of musical style and Satanic attitude would change the world of metal; their influence can be seen throughout the metal landscape to this day. As one of the foundational first-wave black metal bands ("black metal" is taken from the title of their second album), Venom helped pave the way for the second-wave black metal explosion of the early nineties, and for everything that came from that. The influence of their hard-driving, high-speed, low-drag playing style can be seen in every speed metal and thrash band today, and that of their philosophy in the now-ubiquitous Satanic imagery at any metal show on the planet.

In celebration of the band's 40th anniversary, on May 31st BMG is releasing In Nomine Satanas, a mammoth box set that includes fancy vinyl remasters of Venom's first four LPs— Welcome to Hell, Black Metal, At War with Satan and Possessed— plus a vinyl pressing of Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, recorded live at the Hammersmith Odeon in 1985, and a collection of previously-unreleased demos and the like entitled Sons Of Satan. A booklet, posters, and the other requisite frippery are also included.

I've not heard anything about pricing, but it ain't gonna be cheap.


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