Sunday, April 12, 2009

Venom - Die Hard (1983)

A few months after unleashing At War With Satan, Venom began releasing a lot of singles, mini-albums and compilations. The first of these was Die Hard, released by Neat Records in August 1983. Oddly enough, with the number of songs put out during this period, they could have issued them all on one full-length. It certainly would have been superior to Possessed. It wouldn't be until 1986 when they caught on to this and released The Singles: 80-86. At any rate, what we have here are two solid Venom tunes that are worthy of being in anyone's collection.

"Die Hard" begins with a dark thrash riff, a slow build of the drums and a maniacal laugh. The pace isn't necessarily fast, but it's far from slow. It's more of the 'relaxed' Venom tempo that is found on songs like "Welcome To Hell". There's some interesting bass work, in the middle, just before and during the guitar solo. It adds a certain depth to the sound. Anyone that has seen Cronos, live, knows he can really shred on the bass when given the opportunity. Of course, the lyrics reflect the band's Satanic image, right from the first lines:

"Satan, Father
Help me from this grave
Demons, Warriors
Ever be my slaves"

The next song is "Acid Queen". This one burst forth with increased speed, yet the intensity is ephemeral as the verse is more subdued. Cronos sounds out of his mind on this one, and the lyrics seem to cover drug use from an evil perspective.

"Demon controls my mind - leaves the real world behind"

The song speeds up for a bit, featuring a lethargic lead solo as the depraved vocals rage over the trademark Venom guitar sound. The best description of this would be nasty or ugly, rather than dark or evil.

The US version of this features a third song, "Bursting Out". This version begins with a somber intro, before exploding at full speed. During the verses, there are moments where the guitars stop and the vocals are only backed by drums and bass, giving it more of a rock feeling, but only for a few seconds. There are some vocal effects on sections of the song, as Cronos seems to be echoed by distant, demonic voices. The lead solo is lethal and frantic, ending in a chorus of hellish screaming and the sounds of broken glass, with a bit of feedback swirling around. This provides a nice bit of chaos and adds some darkness to the song. Unfortunately for those outside the US, this is actually the best track on here.

All in all, these songs could have been saved for an L.P. but they go well together to create an interesting release and add nicely to the stockpile of Venom tunes.