Calm Before The Storm: Venom

Rating: 80%

Calmbeforethestormoriginal.jpgVenom’s “Calm Before The Storm” released in 1987, was my first introduction to the band. I first heard Venom shortly after this release. Although, this album has a more polished sound to it as compared to their first few albums, I liked it.

“Calm Before The Storm” isn’t everyone’s cup of tea for several reasons. First and foremost, the lyrical themes of Satanism has been placed on the back burner. Secondly, many just don’t like the overall sound to it. Lastly, this isn’t really a Black Metal album as is it is more Speed Metal. To me, this was my first album and when I first heard it, I was blown away.

The musicianship is pretty is tight. You have the one and only whiskey drenched vocalist and bassist Cronos. Rounding out the other spots is guitarists Mike “Mykus” Hickey and James Clare, and drummer Abaddon.

The recording itself sucks. But musically, this album has a lot of fast paced tempos, excellent lead guitars, plenty of riffs and even a few bass solos thrown in. This album does have a bit of a Punk feel to it. It’s a bit more free form. Lyrical themes are more comical and have a lot of tongue in cheek references. There more about Rock n’ Roll, sorcery and magic. “Muscle” is a great example of the tongue in cheek and double entendre references. The term muscle is used to describe a woman’s, well…listen to the song and fill in the blanks. There isn’t any harmony, but there is an organized structure of melody.

Track listing:

Side one
1. “Black Xmas” 2:57
2. “The Chanting of the Priests”  4:25
3. “Metal Punk”  3:24
4. “Under a Spell” 4:09
5. “Calm Before the Storm”  4:14
Side two
6. “Fire” 2:42
7. “Krackin’ Up” 2:15
8. “Beauty and the Beast” 3:49
9. “Deadline” 3:17
10. “Gypsy” 2:25
11. “Muscle” 2:43

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