Venom – “Welcome To Hell: 40th Anniversary Edition” LP
True underground heavy metal of the early 1980s. Groundbreaking and influential in the same outsider fashion as Discharge and Amebix – ignored by the mainstream, celebrated by the unwashed misfits, and with a legacy that went on to transform music (and lives) for generations ever since. A culmination of the preceeding years of NWOBHM, given a jumplead kickstart by punk (and, as with everyone else in them days, Motorhead, too), the Newcastle trio of Cronos, Mantas and Abaddon (Conrad, Jeffrey and Tony to their mums) released this debut album though Neat records in late 1981. With the passing of the eons, Venom are now recognised as the forefathers of not just black metal, but also speed/thrash metal, death metal, punk-metal, and, um, Leatherface. With wonderfully loose musicianship, and zero budget studio production, this is an amateurish, non-commercial classic with an overloaded transit van’s worth of originality and occult magnificance. Evil? In league with satan? Then welcome to hell my sweatlings.