Saturday, September 2, 2017

Venom Inc. at the Gramercy Theatre

Demolition Man & Mantas
Formed in 1979 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England, Venom became one of the darkest bands in thrash and speed metal. The band has split and reformed several times, and presently consists of one original member, bassist/vocalist Conrad "Cronos" Lant. In 2010, original Venom guitarist Jeffrey "Mantas" Dunn teamed with later Venom bassist Tony "Demolition Man" Dolan to form a band called Prime Evil , later changed to M:PIRE of EVIL.  In 2015, Demolition Man contacted original Venom drummer Anthony "Abaddon" Bray about playing some Venom songs with M:PIRE of EVIL at a festival; the three musicians had played together in Venom from 1989 to 1992, but Mantas and Abaddon had not spoken in two decades. They wound up becoming  Venom Inc., initially to revive the older Venom catalog.  Venom Inc. eventually wrote new music and released a debut album, Avé, on August 11, 2017.

Headlining tonight at the Gramercy Theatre, Venom Inc. performed 12 Venom songs and four Venom Inc. songs. That seemed to be the right balance for a band that was banking largely on retrospective. Mantas, Demolition Man and Abaddon worked well as a power trio, with Mantas playing loads of lead riffs and power chords to the rhythm section's very heavy pummeling and Demolition Man's coarse vocals. Curiously, while Venom may have been a noisy band 30 years ago, Venom Inc. sounded relatively clean by today's extreme metal barometer. Perhaps the only element that sounded dated was the lyrical emphasis on the occult; while a metal fan can rightly object that this theme has been done in excess, the metal fan also might remember that these were the musicians that initially exploited that trend.

Visit Venom Inc. at

  1. Ave Satanas
  2. Welcome to Hell (Venom cover)
  3. Metal We Bleed
  4. Die Hard (Venom cover)
  5. Live Like an Angel (Die Like a Devil) (Venom cover)
  6. Warhead (Venom cover)
  7. Blackened Are the Priests (Venom cover)
  8. Carnivorous (Venom cover)
  9. Dein Fleisch
  10. Don't Burn the Witch (Venom cover)
  11. Leave Me in Hell (Venom cover)
  12. War
  13. Black Metal (Venom cover)
  14. Countess Bathory (Venom cover)
  1. Sons of Satan (Venom cover)
  2. Witching Hour (Venom cover)