“Black Metal”, an album that is just as its’ name implies, is in my opinion Venom’s finest hour. Just as the rest of Venom’s catalog, “Black Metal” goes without hooks or in sync melody, and opts instead for over the top heaviness, pounding drums, ripping guitars, and toungue in cheek lyrics about the man downstairs. Songs like “Black Metal”, “To Hell and Back”, “Buried Alive”, and “Sacrifice” are all great thrashing songs, while the unexpectedly laugh out loud hilarious “Teacher’s Pet” shows that the band is more than what they are perceived to be and really do have a sense of humor. I say that this album is important for a very good reason; every thrash band that boomed in the 80’s (Metallica, Megadeth, Anthrax, Slayer, Exodus) cited Venom as one of their top influences, and Pantera frontman Phil Anselmo even cited “Black Metal” as one of the most influential albums of his life. All that there alone is reason enough to give Venom a listen. This recent re-issue has a much sharper sound than any of the previously available imports, which makes it all the sweeter for new listeners to check out.