on July 8, 1999
Venom's terrifying 1st release, the original death metal prototype, absolutely seared speakers and left listeners slack-jawed in the early 80's. Rarely had a band come along and played with such blatant disregard for amplification and melody. While not the greatest of musicians, as evidenced by Abbadon's barely passable drumming, this album set a new standard in brutality and mayhem. Mixing Satanic imagery and lyrics with bulldozer rhythms and bargain basement production, the album sounds primitive by today's standards, but listening to such innovative trax such as "Sons of Satan", "Live Like An Angel, Die Like A Devil", and the still soul-feezing "Welcome To Hell", with it's Lord's Prayer chant that can STILL send shivers up your spine, you knew Venom had caught onto something. They introduced a new wave of metal practitioners, and a new term for the metal masses; Black Metal. Soon afterwards, bands such as Bathory, Celtic Frost and Possessed took the initiative that Venom started and soon made Black Metal a viable exponent of metal. Their influence was worldwide. After awhile, Venom's antics and attitude got a bit much, and their music suffered, never fully recovering after releasing the mediocre "Possessed" album. Their legacy is the the brutal "Black Metal" and this, their debut classic. In your hands, you hold a history lesson followed and preached by many a new generation of metal loyalists and bands, including Metallica, who opened for Venom on the infamous and now legendary 7 Dates Of Hell tour. An absolute must have if you even think about getting into death/black metal.
on October 17, 2009
When you are a boy in high school- bored, frustrated, in need of attention- sometimes the more offensive and awful a band is the better. Behold Venom! These guys are about offensive as it gets. 75% of their lyrics (at least) are Satanic and they make Motorhead sound like the Beach Boys. But they are great at what they do. They actually have some catchy riffs. They have taken a lot of heat for their questionable musicianship and low budget production but you could say the same about musicianship for a lot of bands including The Sex Pistols and The Clash. I think if you had Bob Rock behind the glass I think these guys would sound tight. But this in it's rawness is ferocious metal and ended up influencing everyone. To hear what I am talking about listen to In League With Satan and In Nomine Satanas... but then go to confession.
on June 2, 2000
This was the album that started it all. Black metal at it roughest, hardest and meanest, there was no other band like Venom. When Cronos and crew went into the studio, they were under the impression that they were recording a demo and accounts partially for the very rough and unpolished sound. Every track here is a death metal classic: In Nomine Satanas, A Thoudand Days In Sodom, Witching Hour, Sons of Satan, Angel Dust, you name it. This is the most hard-hitting album ever recorded by any band. Definitley NOT for the faint-hearted!
on June 5, 2004
This is where black metal began, even though the term didn't come into use until Venom's second album, "Black Metal" came out. Still, this is where it all started. There's not much to say about this that hasn't been said already, so I'll just say that this is essential if you like REAL HEAVY METAL! Sure, "Black Metal" was more raw & really scary, but this one has the attitude. Sure, Venom's musical skills were limited in the beginning, but after all, it's the feeling of the music that mattered. And this was one rowdy, blasphemous piece of vinyl (or CD, in 2004). After hearing the opening track, "Sons of Satan", you kind of knew what you were getting yourself into. Nearly every song on here is classic Venom, like, oh let's see, "Welcome to Hell"; the early thrash masterpiece "Witching Hour", with its churchbell-like bass intro, complete with thunderstorm & various scary sounds; "In League with Satan", with backwards Satanic intro and tribal drum beats. It even has a cool little guitar interlude called "Mayhem with Mercy", which, amazingly, isn't Satanic at all, but still sounds good. Another cool thing on here is the band quote which said, 'If this lp is warped or defaced in any way, please throw it away and buy a new one'. How many bands would say that? Most black metal bands all seem to sound the same. Screaming obscenities, playing 1000 m.p.h. on every song, never doing anything different, but Venom did things differently. Almost all their songs sounded unique, with interesting lyrics. You could actually remember the way the songs went after you heard them. Anyway, that's my opinion. Buy this CD and if you don't like it, T.S.!
on March 27, 2002
So here it is again, the legendary debut album from Venom and nothing really could prepare you then and nothing can prepare you now for the evil din contained within this classic piece of outrage. Lets see there are Satanic themes, violent guitars, thundering bass and growling vocals. Perfect indeed. Be warned its rough and very under produced yet you can't help going back and giving your ears another bashing like a glutton for punishment. Musically speaking I guess a parallel to say 'Motorhead' crossed through a thermo nuclear meltdown with 'Black Sabbath' could best describe this CD's contents, though that doesn't even come close to describing the OTT delivery given. No where near as fine and refined as its follow up in 'Black Metal' this is indeed a different kind of horned beast. Every song is loud, frenzied and obnoxious though 'Live Like An Angel' is the most tuneful and 'In League With Satan' the most hummable. It can take time to ingest the contents but the bands enthusiasm will win you over to the dark side over time. There are real songs and great ideas hidden under the roughness so persist at all costs. The bonus trax are also well worth a visit in particular the 'Angel Dust' (lead weight version)which I think improves on its eventual cut and the 'Red Light Fever' demo version. Forgive them father for they knew exactly what they were doing!
on April 14, 2004
Do you know who said that? Jon Bon Jovi. What does he know? Venom are one of the few chosen sons in the history of metal! "Welcome to Hell" is everything your parents did not want you to listen to. Chok full of chainsaw guitar dives, warhead drum blasts, bulldozer bass and vicious vocals it is an essentail release to have in any true metal-head collection. This is the band that was sadly pushed aside when Slayer, Megadeth and Metallica started gaining ground way back in the day. Personally, I love Slayer, I used to like Megadeth and Metallica...well... anyways, I highly reccomend "Welcome to Hell" Aside from lacking in the production, it is a classic!
on October 9, 2010
Just to get it off my chest, it peeves me how often people say something like, "not technically proficient", "amateurish" (as even the description of the item above stated!). Even fans are beginning to sound apologetic when they discuss Venom. Lose that rubbish. There's no need if you are in the know. We are talking Venom! The music blows you away! Who even has the head space to sit and analyze the roaring thunder and lightning storm? You just get into it. Actually, it gets into you. I think maybe people must be coming to this music late or something because I can't imagine it coming from someone who was around in the beginning. All we felt was the raw, boundary breaking, electric excitement. Venom was hugely influential to practically every band that formed the first 2 waves of thrash/black metal. So please, respect them, man.
Now to the album: Get it. It is essential music. If you are looking at this review, I imagine you are a metalhead. A metalhead without Welcome to Hell is like a cowboy without his hat. This album has withstood the eroding forces of time and it hasn't lost its effect. It pumps and drives wicked good. I have a hard time walking down the street listening to my CD version of it without acting like a fool, at least in other people's eyes. It makes you rock. Hard. The lyrics are huge fun. The audacity to come out with that in the 80s just makes me laugh with morbid pleasure. Actually, they are still pretty iconoclastic. Equivalent lyrices today are found only in Death Metal today but you really can't understand them without a lyric sheet. The delivery here is clear as a bell.
Now for a contentious point, but a necessary one. The vinyl version is the best one if you want to hear it as good as it can possibly be. I have it on both CD and DVD, so I can carry the music in my player. Perhaps the critics never heard it on vinyl, which is why they are stuck on this technique point. Analog creates a soundstage that makes the music bounce, so it sounds more dynamic. Vinyl can capture that, while CDs or Mp3s cannot. That's not the only difference but its enough for this purpose. This point is important with Venom because they are a minimalist band. Now, for many, you have to retrain your ears to be able to get all the nuance of the music because ears have gotten lazy since the digital revolution, especially nonmusicians who listen to compressed files alot. Once you do, you will hear the difference. (Actually, if you go to You Tube and search for Carnivore, God is Dead, you will find various uploads from digital media but there's one guy who uploaded it from vinyl. You can see him spinning it. Listen to that and compare it to the others. The difference is audible and that is with the warts of having to transfer it to digital and upload it to 'not the best sounding' You Tube. The Carnivore song is also more minimalist than bombastic too.) (Please don't bother bashing me because of this paragraph. I mention it only because the album is available as a vinyl record. I'm not interested in the old argument, which I've heard a million times. All I care about is keeping my ears happy and engorged on great sound.)
Now stop reading, click buy now, and turn it up when it arrives. Hell is waiting, and so are Abaddon, Mantas, and Cronos!
on September 26, 2009
For a metal fan it took me an amazingly long time to get around to listening to the trailblazing work of Venom. I have to say that the experience of this album and the two that followed it, while not quite packing the punch it did when they were first released in the early '80s, is thoroughly enjoyable and surprising. And, from a music history point of view, quite fascinating. I recommend this album and the two follow-ups, Black Metal and At War With Satan to anyone putting together a thorough collection of metal and hard rock.
I bought Welcome to Hell together with the other two albums and I have to say that, of the three, this the one that I enjoyed most on the first listen. In true Venom style, the riffs are wicked, the vocals are pure satanic machismo and the lyrics are irreverent and darkly humourous. The sound quality of this album is notoriously bad and I must say that I didn't expect it to be as bad as it is. The album sounds like it was recorded in a dungeon and then someone forgot to mix it before releasing it. On many of the tracks the mixing of the guitar and bass is terrible, resulting in a monstrous mishmash of distorted sound. Famed metal critic Geoff Barton is often quoted as saying, in one of the first ever reviews of this album back in the 80s, that it had the hi-fi quality of a 50-year-old pizza. That may be a bit harsh, but just be warned, that if you're expecting the polished production of Martin Birch, Rick Rubin or Bob Rock, you ain't gonna find it here.
However, that does not detract from the experience of listening to the album. In a sense it adds to its status as a metal classic. Before the band's ambitions overstretched their abilities after the At War With Satan album, they perfectly captured the essence of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal - the perfect comination of metal bombast and punk irreverence. Some people might say that this was best captured on Black Metal, but I'm inclined to think that Welcome to Hell was really their definitive statement. The album also includes what is probably the catchiest piece of satanic-themed metal ever released. If you don't walk around for a week after hearing this belting out, "'CAUSE I'M EVIL. IN LEAGUE WITH SATAN" either at the top of your lungs or under your breath, then you're probably not a rock fan. So if you're averse to having an infectious piece of devil rock stuck in your head, give this a miss.
This reissue comes in a slipcase and has a booklet with great photos and facts. There are also a lot of bonus tracks. Go ahead, it's worth every penny.
on June 20, 2001
Welcome to hell is the best of the original trilogy by venom. Anyone with an interest in death metal, black metal or even just plain old rock and roll should buy this classic 1980 release - as with "at war with satan," the artwork should be redone by whoever distributes it to more closely match the original.
on November 5, 2002
This is great!! Who knew years later, I'd give these guys another spin; and who new how well this stuff holds up!!! I'd tried to avoid Venom. For example, when I felt the urge I would try to sedate it with Motorhead; it didn't work. Nobody else does, or has done what these goofballs did(and without resorting to arson!!) Yes, there is dubious lyrical content, BUT the whirlwind of sound is irrisistable, and pretty soon I'm laughing with glee. The songs are extremely catchy, not like the unlistenable claptrap of the genre which these boys spawned. "Sons of Satan" is undeniably cool; pulls ya right in at the beginning. "Welcome to Hell" is a fist pumping anthem. Another fave is "Witching Hour," a companion piece to the Misfits' "All Hell Breaks Loose" if you will. Great for dark and windy autumn nights. Highly addictive, AND groundbreaking noise!!!