Venom Inc. have been on a roll recently. With constant touring over the last two years and a new album out, they’ve been getting more buzz than the other line-up of Venom. Their first stop on their current American trek was in Philadelphia, at the small but comfortable Voltage Lounge. With touring partners Goatwhore and Toxic Holocaust, this show was poised to be awesome.
I missed openers The Bad Luck 13 Riot Extravaganza and The Convalescence, as this show began pretty early. Toxic Holocaust was first for me. Their three-piece brutal thrash assault was very much appreciated. They stick to the core thrash metal sound laid out in the ’80s, but keep it fresh. I really dig Joel Grind‘s rapid fire gravely delivery along with his almost glam metal hair. The pit was of course in full force, taking up a good amount of space in the quaint venue. The highlight for me was “Nuke the Cross,” which the title alone really celebrates the over the top nature of thrash metal and really most metal in general. Toxic Holocaust continued the tradition that Venom bequeathed over three decades ago.
Louisianan black/death metal band Goatwhore was next. I’m not really into either of those genres, but I could get into it still. They were melodic at times and had thrash elements. They definitely had some sick riffs up their sleeves. Though 95% of the time I can’t get into harsh vocals, and here was no exception. Not my cup of tea for the most part, but they clearly have legions of fans.
After a long wait, Venom Inc. took the stage and they were in full force. They commenced with the lead single off their new album, “Ave Satanas.” They proved that they still had their Satanic charm with their new material, but the crowd didn’t go crazy until they played the classic “Welcome to Hell” next. Demolition Man‘s gravely voice has aged, but like Lemmy‘s voice, its aged like a fine whisky. If anything, its just gotten heavier over the years. He’s such a fun frontman too, full of quips in between songs and showing appreciation for the fans. Mantas similarly kicks ass and is a machine on guitar. Gotta love Abaddon‘s constant manic energy too.
Their setlist was definitely better the last time I saw them with killers like “Prime Evil,” “Buried Alive,” “Raise the Dead,” and “Bloodlust,” that weren’t played here, but because it was a Friday night, this recent show had more energy. But hell, they played “Manitou” this time around, a deep cut that I wasn’t expecting. Venom Inc. had some technical issues throughout their set, but kept moving along, not letting it affect the energy. People were crowd surfing like crazy, which is somewhat unexpected at a smaller venue. I swear I heard someone say “he needs stitches!” while helping someone out of the pit. I hope the guy was alright, but damn that says something about the music. Their live renditions of old classics are like an old AK-47 under water: they still work well. “Black Metal” and “Countess Bathory” were stand-out performances, with the audience chanting along. They had an encore with “Sons of Satan” and “Witching Hour,” both of which I don’t care much for, but you gotta love the encore regardless.
Tonight made it clear to me that Venom Inc. are the true heirs to the Venom throne. While it’s nice that there’s more Venom to go around with the two rival line-ups, the fact that they mostly play the classic early 80s material, are on the road all the time, and just came out with an album shows that they know what the fans want. I can’t wait to witness them again! \m/
Venom Inc. Setlist:
1. Ave Satanas
2. Welcome to Hell
3. Metal We Bleed
4. Die Hard
5. Live Like an Angel (Die Like a Devil)
6. Blackened Are the Priests
8. Dein Fleisch
10. Don’t Burn the Witch
12. Leave Me in Hell
13. Black Metal
14. Countess Bathory
15. Sons of Satan
16. Witching Hour