Venom: Skeletons in the Closet
Release date: 1993
Label: Castle Communications
Label: Castle Music CCSCD 367, Castle Music CMC 3082
1. Tour Intro Tape (’83/84) / Welcome to Hell (re-mix) 04:55
2. Dead on Arrival 03:06
3. Snots Shit (demo) 02:06
4. Black Metal (re-mix) 03:58
5. Hounds of Hell 03:21
6. At War with Satan (TV adverts) 01:04
7. At War with Satan (full re-edit) 21:32
8. Bitch Witch 03:06
9. Intro Tapes (Tours ’85/86) 01:07
10. Possessed (re-mix) 05:10
11. Sadist (Mistress of the Whip) 02:39
12. Manitou (Abbey Road un-cut mix) 04:51
13. Angel Dust (demo) 03:10
14. Raise the Dead (demo) 03:29
15. Red Light Fever (demo) 04:46
16. Venom Station (I.D.s for America & Spain) 04:34
Notes: 2, 5, 8, 11 are previously unreleased. 3 is an unreleased demo. 13, 14, 15 are taken from the first ever Venom recording from 1980.
Some skeletons are worth digging up!!
What makes this nifty little collection are tour intro tapes, television adverts and radio station visits. Sure, there Are some unreleased tracks that are always dandy for any behemoth Venom fan, plus some remixes, but my real interest were the non-musical features.
The CD starts most aptly with the tour intro tape from 83/84, right about the time At War With Satan was bearing down on the world. If you’ve ever been to an early Venom show or saw one of their VHS concerts, you’ve heard this. Thunder clashes in massive waves and demons howl and cry as Ladies & gentlemen, from the very depths of hell……. Venom! does what its supposed to and right into a remixed, cleaner version of Welcome to Hell. The intro tape of 85/86 harks the coming of their Possessed album, stark scary white with chimes, little English children speaking in tongues with a creepy, overlapping effect when they’re not screaming for their lives, and is later punctured by the remix of Possessed. There are a bunch of radio spots (for the USA and Spain) that amplify the bands penchant for goofing around, the three of them yelling like a gaggle of drunken sailors out for a good time, dispelling some of their façade as the most malevolent band in the void, but anyone fairly familiar with Venom’s style is aware the crew don’t take themselves or each other very seriously. Believe it or not, this is the true gift of Venom. Geese will perform linear algebra before anyone will see members of Marduk or Satyricon striking Victoria Secrets poses like Cronos does on the inner fold-out (with Abaddon licking his nipple while Mantas gayly smiles as if this is something that happens everyday). Its great to hear the t.v. adverts for At War With Satan with that same commanding voice-from-above that intros their shows.
For musical features, we’ve got previously unreleased tracks Dead on Arrival (a fairly powerful number with some screaming solos and catchy riffs), Snots Shit (from an unreleased demo, super sloppy punk with slapstick), Hounds of Hell (straightforward and typical Venom), Bitch Witch (a number that mixes a mid-pace with a light plod highlighting the chorus), and Sadist (Mistress of the Whip) (a cool track in the vein of S.A.C.R.I.F.I.C.E. with a short, but lively chorus). As well as these gems, there’s the Abbey Road uncut mix of Manitou, generally the same except for a couple light sound effects and an extended ending that is nothing special. Then there are the bands first recordings, crude legendary demo versions of Angel Dust, Raise the Dead (with different lyrics), and Red Light Fever without the attitude injection they will later receive.
Between the newly unearthed stuff, the industry fun, and the demo material (if you’ve never heard it), I believe this is worth the bucks.