Venom is a black metal band, formed in 1979, in England. Venom is a pioneer of the entire Black Metal genre, and a big influence to early death and thrash metal bands at the time. Mayhem, Slayer, Testament and Morbid Angel cite Venom as a major influence. Though musically they are more closely related to thrash metal, it was their lyrical topics and harsher vocals which separated them from other bands at the time (usually dealing with Satan and Hell and other “black” topics). Their first two records, Welcome to Hell in 1981 and Black Metal in 1982, set the bar for black metal to follow. The original members were: Cronos, Mantas, and Abaddon.
Dissatisfied with the metal scene at the time, where the toughest bands were Motörhead and Judas Priest, Cronos, Mantas and Abaddon proposed pushing the genre further. Originally, the band was called Oberon and consisted of five members. Mantas worked on the road, and “Venom” was his nickname.
Cronos initially joined the group as a guitarist. After Mantas asked him to sing “Live Like an Angel, Die Like a Devil”, the group appreciated the result.
Their first album, Welcome to Hell (1981), was a remarkable tour de force at the time, when satan was rarely mentioned. It is also credited as influencing a lot of thrash metal bands, specifically Metallica, Slayer and Megadeth. It pushed the boundaries of thrash metal to the extremes from the get go, and the beginnings of a new genre were starting to emerge.
Their second album, Black Metal (1982) is often cited as important in the development of black metal and death metal. Many elements of these genres are found in the lyrics and even the song titles.
As Godfathers of black metal, when asked about the actions of the later black metal bands and their church burnings as well as the often times out of hand stage shows; Venom has spoken out against those acts. Stating that these artists are taking the music they make much too seriously. The point was to make controversial music and not to hurt anybody, claiming that what they do is wrong. . . . However this differs from interview to interview.
Metal Black (2006), featuring original frontman Cronos, finds Venom going back to their roots. Fiery, blistering riffs, churning guitar leads, and stomping drums should have every listener wishing for a chance to headbang. After 25 years, Venom still knows how to bring the goods, cranking out the tunes – fast, heavy and dark.