Why I love... Venom - "Black Metal"

The greatest record ever recorded by anyone... ever!

I first discovered Venom on what I believe was Australia Day, January 26th, 1986. Me, my brother and my mum went to the SAFM Skyshow to watch the annual fireworks night when these 2 dudes came and sat beside us with a ghettoblaster (yes, a ghettoblaster) crankin’ out some heavy tunes. We asked who this band was that they were playing and one of them answered “Venom”. I was liking it. Luckily for me, I also had taken my ghettoblaster along to the Skyshow armed with a tape of Ozzy Osbourne’s Tribute album. These new found metalhead friends had one of those new double tape deck ghettoblasters, so I asked them if they could tape me the best Venom song that they had with them. They kindly obliged and after some brief discussion of which song to give, it was decided that I needed the track “Buried Alive”. I was happy with that. I didn’t care, it was Venom, I was liking it and I wanted to hear more. I handed over my Hanimex tape of Ozzy and they taped over the acoustic track on the end with good ole Buried Alive by Venom. Hearing Cronos scream “As they lower me down into that hole in the ground…” was so awesome when you’re 11 years old. Yeah, really. ANYWAY, we chatted to these guys all night and in-between telling us how good the band Tank were, they had just made a young kid happy with this new metal finding.

One day not too long after, my brother told me he had seen a Venom record in CC Records in Rundle Mall while record shopping. That was enough to have me take my $20 pocket money into the city to snap this gem up. There it was, Venom’s Black Metal complete with that grey goat head staring me in the face. Venom’s satanic imagery was enough for me to hand over my cash and take my very first imported record home to blast the hell out of it. After getting over my initial laughter that was the result of the band photos on the album’s back cover; I’m sorry but Mantas sitting on a motorbike surrounded by amps and cheap guitars, Abaddon hanging out with some Doberman dogs and Cronos sitting in a dimly lit room filled with candles and inverted crosses was all just too funny for a 11 year old kid, I eventually got to putting the record on my stereo. I was greeted with some ear piercing noise of metal being grinded away before the riff to the album’s title track blasted through. It sounded like shit! But it was awesome. Like this was punk rock, but played by metal heads singing about sacrifices, dying hard, angel dust and not burning any witches. Brilliant! The back cover even has this nice slice of wisdom for you all: “We drink the vomit of the priests, make love with the dying whore, we suck the blood of the beast and hold the key to death’s door…” Let’s be honest here, Venom knew how to sell records.

I was 11 years old and heard the most damaging music in my life to that date, and even to this day Venom are more full-on than half of these bands claiming to be brutal and tough. Regardless, I was hooked. From then on in, I searched far and wide for Venom records. I still do to this day. They’re my favourite metal band, they’re still as horrible yet awesome as they have always been and they still remain as the only band I want to see before I die. One day I will take a photo of my extensive Venom collection. You are probably thinking it’s all a joke but nope, this is my all time favourite metal band. I once bought a Venom video tape of the 7 Dates Of Hell and watched it every day for months. I was mesmerized that they hadn’t even finished the second song and Cronos had smashed his bass guitar. This band was brilliant!

My liking of Venom went on to cause heaps of problems for me at highschool. The other kids thought I was a Satanist and some jerks even decided to plaster my front lawn with crucifix’s that had bible scriptures attached to them. Serious. I had to laugh. It was like a scene out of the movie Trick Or Treat. Major family entertainment.

I should also point out that the version of Black Metal that I own (well, one of 3 copies) is the 1985 Combat Records 14 track version. Most pressings of this legendary record have 11 tracks (missing Angel Dust and Bloodlust on Side A and Diehard on Side B). When I hear the expanded CD of this album, those tracks not being in their rightful places just sounds weird to me.

Now, no matter how much you argue with me about it, you will always be wrong. This album IS the greatest metal album of all time. That is the facts, my friends. Plain and simple. If you don’t own this and you claim to like metal, you’re about as weak as a used Manowar loincloth. True story.