ALBUM REVIEW: Venom Prison – Samsara

Release Date: March 15th 2019
Label: Prosthetic Records


Venom Prison burst onto the scene in 2016 with their debut record, ‘Animus’, creating a disgustingly violent statement of intent from the very start. While bands such as Architects, While She Sleeps, and Black Peaks are steadily climbing the ranks and playing to bigger venues in front of more people, there hasn’t really been an awful lot to shout about from the death metal subgenre within the UK.

But Venom Prison are doing their hardest to make a racket and be heard. It’s worth saying at this point that if you weren’t a fan of that debut record then you’re probably not going to get on well with this.

Opening track ‘Matriphagy’ commences with a guitar squeal leading into cavernous sounding guitars and pulverising drums whilst vocalist Larissa Stupar‘s range of vocal tone strays from pitched screaming to low-end guttural roars.

There’s a strong catchiness that underpins a fair amount of this record. Both ‘Megillus & Leana’ and ‘Uterine Industrialisation’ feature deathcore vocals over interesting groove-laden guitar sections; the latter track showcasing a decent guitar solo partway through before descending into a thunderous breakdown which will no doubt be rapturously received in the live environment.

Unfortunately, as mentioned above, this album isn’t likely to generate new fans into Venom Prison‘s sound. If anything, ‘Samsara’ is less accessible than the debut, leaving no doubt in anyone’s minds that this is full-on death metal brutality with very little in the way of melody or even a chance to take a breath.

‘Sadistic Rituals’ attempts to mix things up with wicked gothic-style instrumentation floating across the surface, giving the song a morbidly tortuous feel without losing any of its unrelenting heaviness, and ‘Dukkha’ has a melodic opening and a fair amount of pace thanks to Jay Pipprell‘s drum work, but the potency returns with ‘Implementing The Metaphysics Of Morals’, which is a swirling cacophony of blast beats and throat-shredding vocals.

At the end of the album, one could ponder what could have been with six-minute closing track ‘Naraka’ being the catchiest song on show. Take note of Stupar‘s screaming on this track which is completely off the chain and is a definite put-off for those who aren’t into death metal but are conversely impressive for those that are.

If you’re after a stampede of ferocity with impressive musicianship displaying masterful technicality then Venom Prison are taking no prisoners (pun thoroughly intended) and you should check this out, but if you’re after a bit of variety and originality then this may well be a touch too heavy for your musical palette.