Venom Prison – Animus (Prosthetic)

Sunday, 9th October 2016
Rating: 8/10

Venom is the key component of what this UK death metal act unleashes with their debut album, Animus. Venom Prison storms out of the gates with barbaric energy and doesn’t let up over the course of the album. Plenty of anger, plenty of aggression – yet there’s never a dull moment.

Modern death metal this may be, but don’t assume that Animus is full of the same tech-y, sterile sound that many strive for. Venom Prison has just as much bark as it does bite, and some varied influences ensure that this metallic fusion isn’t simply an ordinary one. There’s a straight-ahead hardcore aggression that lurks behind the death metal riffing – tracks like “Perpetrator Emasculation” and “The Exquisite Taste of Selfishness” have that ‘go for the jugular’ approach, and needed abrasion within the riffs that you could almost imagine if the band took the death metal meat out of the guitars, they could be played as a hardcore track. Some groove and breakdowns are effective at breaking things up from the otherwise speedy approach (see “Desecration of Human Privilege”) and provide some memorable and rather heavy changes of pace. Vocalist Larissa Stupar’s impressive variety of screams/growls also take the band even further into the extreme, with a feeling that’s nothing short of caustic. Despite the no-frills death metal attack, occasionally they dive into more melodic, but no less visceral, riffs (see “Devoid”) giving some effective proof on their first outing that they can bring more to the table than you might expect.

Sharpening the blade at an early stage in their career, Animus is a strong debut that will appeal to plenty within the extreme metal realm. The type of album that demands to be played at increasingly loud volumes, it can incite the beast within, but still keep things memorable enough that you don’t view it as simply an adrenaline rush. As such, it provides some additional value as you continue to crank through its get-in-get-out runtime again and again.

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