Venom Prison – Erebos (Century Media)Friday, 28th January 2022
One probably needs to live under a rock in the last few years to have not heard Venom Prison’s name spread through the underground. For good reason too, as the UK extreme metal band’s sound is one that has whipped up quite a bit of frenzy, with their bludgeoning take on death metal (from hardcore influences) doling out copious amounts of fury alongside more socially aware messages (instead of the usual gore et al). Making the jump to Century Media Records for their third album, the vicious band takes a step into more vulnerable light with Erebos, and end up standing even taller for it.
For a band built on intensity and aggression, Venom Prison lay it all on the table for their third effort. Fear not, the band hasn’t gone and stripped away their extremity by any means, but what Erebos offers is something more than a mere adrenaline rush. First single “Judges of the Underworld” is the closest to what the band has done previously, with snarling riffs and devastating intensity (leading into a vicious breakdown at the songs finale), but it tends to stand out with it’s melodic acrobatics and increased use of electronics/atmosphere as well. “Comfort of Complicity” has an explosive side to it as well, but the level of melodic guitarplay under it almost feels like a melodeath excursion with more brutality laced into its meshwork. Already released track “Pain of Oizys” is going to turn some heads too, with it’s extended use of clean vocals and melancholic atmosphere. But it works for the band. The more dreamy atmosphere gives the later battery in the track something to play off of, and turns it into an absolute album standout. Later cut “Castigated in Steel and Concrete” swerves between more gloomy melodies and furious blasts, and “Technologies of Death” really ups the epic melodic qualities the band was striving for on the release and wraps it into an excellent finale.
A strong case of a band really coming into their own, Erebos takes the designs that Venom Prison has had and brings them up to the next level with thrilling results. You can still get the primal abrasion that the band has distributed with their previous efforts, but there’s more cerebral nuance to be had – something that leads to really wanting to listen to the album over again. It’s still very much Venom Prison, but a more refined and mature version that achieves more melody without compromise.