I've always liked Venom. They may not be a consistent, and they've perhaps never made a true "comeback" album to reach the heights of "Welcome to Hell" and "Black Metal", but what I love is the multitude of interesting stuff that the band makes along the way; Seldom in the same style for long, but then again, their music never was. "Fallen Angels" is the band's latest batch of interesting stuff.
"Fallen Angels" seems to take many of the aspects from the bands more recent works; "Metal Black", "Ressurrection" and "Hell", but also have a raucous air which is much more reminiscent of the early albums. The production is much, much more wholesome and enjoyable than that of the two albums Venom released prior to this - and while it's a bit scuffed and unpolished, something which is absolutely essential, it is also pleasingly crisp in it's own way - Everything is mixed and levelled nicely, and there is a strongly organic, earthy feel to the whole album as a consequence. The bass sound is enormous, and emphasised a little in the mix, with all of the bulldozer crunch that Venom made their own back in the day. This is done quite well too, there's definitely enough restraint not to spoil the other instruments, but the bass is definitely back to where it should be - as a three-piece band, it commands it's due third of the instrumental attention. The other instruments seem to be solid too, and the drums are well played and well mixed, which makes a change to them being either one or the other, in recent works.
Overall, intensity seems perhaps a little more restrained in the album than in some of the recent works, but it's still very replete with energy; this suits the albums overall style - it's a bit less agile, but it's got a lot of strength and might; songs like "Punk's Not Dead" have the same fist-pumping energy that tracks like "Countess Bathory" did on Black Metal. It's a strong album, by any standards, in respect to it's sound, and the songwriting on it, which is definitely a step up from "Hell" and maybe "Metal Black" too. There's even a calm acoustic instrumental, "Lest We Forget" which instantly made me think of "Mayhem with Mercy" from the bands debut, which went down the same road, a road which Venom seldom tread. It's an album with a bit of everything, and it's standing up well against the band's legacy - I feel that the band may have made a bit of an effort to return to their older sound a little more on this album, and it sounds like it's worked quite well.
Overall, well, it's not a comeback album. Perhaps it's a little bit late now for that, but that doesn't mean it's not good, and quite impressively good too - a cut above a lot of their newer material, and a thoroughly enjoyable album from end to end, something which listening to it more will add to, and not detract from, I feel. Once again, Venom have produced some interesting stuff.
It's a good 'un: 8/10.
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