At fist listen the first thing that came up and kicked me was how good the production was. Now we’re not talking high class production values as with today’s bands, but compared to Venom’s first two ultimately cool but poorly produced gruesome twosome, this sounds pretty dang good.
The album kicks off with the surprisingly long title track. This baby is almost 20 minutes in length (when released on LP, the song actually took up the entire first side)! This was very gutsy for the band! The song is surprisingly good with an “interesting” story within its lyrics. The story has some demons heading up to heaven to take the place down. They severely beat up angels who at once they recover from getting their whooped and then head down to hell to take out the demons. Yes, it is one whacked out story that only could be dreamed up by the demonic minds of Venom. The song is surprisingly well structured, considering the bands rather poorly (but still cool) structured origins. I did like the song very much but I do have to say that at 20 minutes in length, it does get a little long. Even cutting it down to 13 minutes would have been sufficient enough. One of my favorite moments of the song is the ending when it has a narrator talking over the song. It’s so chilling it will give you goosebumps!!
Since the first song is so long, sadly the rest of the album really just acts as filler. Sure there is some decent material, but it really is just “there” per say. Of the six tracks that follow the monster opener, Rip Ride would have to be the best. It’s just trashy black metal that Venom known for. The album closer is humorously titled Aaaaaaarrghh but sadly it doesn’t live up to its funny name. It’s mostly just talking. To show off the bands unique sense of humor, they announced that the third “a” in the title is silent. HAHAHA!! That’s why I love Venom! They can be scary, aggressive, yet they also have that great British sense of humor (whoops, I mean humour)
The album cover itself was a real “shocker” at the time that would make any parent majorly angry at their child. Though some found it shocking, I personally found the cover to be actually humorous. I could just picture the band members just sitting around, drinking and playing cards trying to think up another way to be shocking. One member goes “how about we make the album cover have the texture of the bible and print an inverted cross on it!” Hey, what can I say, it worked as most people I know remember the album cover more than anything.
Overall I don’t view this album to be as good as or better than Welcome to Hell or Black Metal. Though it’s not as good, I still viewed it as a step in the right direction evolution wise. The reason for this is of course for the much improved production values as well as the better song writing capabilities that the band proved with the title song. Sadly Venom would not continue with this trend as they de-evolved with their pivotal but extremely disappointing release of Possessed.
More interesting Venom releases to come later…