Sunday, November 20, 2011

Venom - Temples of Ice (1991)

Temples of Ice is another one of Venom's forgotten albums, from the dark era when Cronos was no longer part of the band. Much like Prime Evil, it features some solid but average tracks and fails to impress. The cover art does not help any, as it looks like a screen capture from a Saturday morning cartoon. Again, this album shows a band that is not concerned with proving themselves to anyone, only in making an L.P. filled with sub-par music, disappointing anyone that was still hoping that Venom would have a return to form. Released in May 1991 on Under One Flag, this rare album has been disowned by the band, since then.

The music is rather boring and generic. It is not even all that thrashy, at times. It straddles the fence between 80s Hard Rock and traditional Metal, more than anything by this point. Dolan's pathetic vocals are still present, though now the effect is not as detrimental since nothing worth a damn has been presented, musically. The lyrical themes are much softer and more lame, rather than the occult, Satanic approach from before. Just the weak song titles and horrid artwork are enough to have the listener view the album as inferior. There are traces of Venom's old style, but mixed in with the stench of modernity. While being much better than Calm Before the Storm, the lack of a dark atmosphere and the terrible replacement vocalist make these albums exceptionally hard to enjoy. There are some interesting ideas to be found here, though none of them live up to their potential.

By 1991, Thrash Metal seemed to be dying out, anyway. It is too bad that the Second Wave of Black Metal did not explode for another year or two, as that might have been enough of a motivation for Venom to return to their roots and contribute, once again, to the sub-genre that they created. Instead, fans got a release that demonstrated just how much the band was running out of steam and creativity. That they could not even maintain the Thrash and ended up allowing more traditional Metal and Rock ideas into the arrangements was enough to prove that Venom had hit a dead end.

Temples of Ice is an interesting album and more of a curiosity than anything else. Do not bother going to great lengths to acquire this, as it is not worth the trouble and you will likely get bored of it in no time. This represents yet another missed opportunity that Venom had to regain credibility and relevance, but opted for a safe and boring album filled with bland songwriting and haphazard execution.