Venom Prison will be wanting to keep every bit of momentum up at this point, with both 2016’s ‘Animus’ and 2019’s ‘Samsara’ being met with large levels of acclaim.
Their intelligently crafted but ultimately brutal, caustic, and righteous brand of death metal has won them plenty of plaudits in the last few years. For their latest studio release, ‘Primeval’, the band find themselves delving back into the vaults; we have re-workings of material combined from their early EPs, ‘Defy The Tyrant’ and ‘Primal Chaos’.
From the moment ‘Usurper Of The Throne’ comes in, it’s clear that this is always a band that have carried themselves with purpose, but those extra years of honing their craft have made these already brilliant songs sound even more potent.
‘Life Suffer’ deals in double-time thrash, and when the breakdown hits at the end, you have no choice but to submit. The band’s hardcore leanings are front and centre for this song, and we have a newly-included eerie sample that keeps us guessing.
And if there’s another thing that we get from this, it’s the dynamic range and depth they had from the very start; clean guitars, and a generally more melodic opening starts things off before their signature riff-based assault takes the reins for ‘Mortal Abomination’.
‘Defy The Tyrant’ is intense all the way through in every sense of the word; scatterbrain drums, a chock full of riffs, and a commandeering vocal performance by Larissa Stupar, delivering depraved growls and shrieks all over the shop. It’s one of many reminders of how much promise they had at such an early stage in their career.
‘The Primal Chaos’ is another staple from their early days, with the riffs really driving the song and some chant along vocal hooks appearing, and the slowed-down ending in particularly works a treat.
But songs like ‘Defiant To The Will Of God’ and ‘Slayer Of Holofernes’ show that there’s more to Venom Prison than what some people might perceive. The luscious melodic break to the former track is an unexpected highlight. There’s even a sung vocal hook that appears in the latter, not before one final wave of riffs and chaos take us home. Even on what is essentially a compilation of sorts, this still feels very apt as a closer.
Far from a mere re-tread of the past, Venom Prison have made their early works not only flow well together, but sound just as exciting as their last two albums. It’s also a reminder that whatever Venom Prison do next, it’ll be exciting to see, but frighteningly, their best effort may still be yet to come.