If you’ve paid even a tiny bit of attention to this years releases you’ll see not only a selection of top notch albums released by established acts but also a fantastic array of new music. With bands like NAPOLEON, HECK and KNOCKED LOOSE all releasing captivating debuts, it’s time for another band to join the ranks of groups who have firmly established themselves with well-executed debuts. VENOM PRISON are here to set themselves as one of the most exciting prospects in modern death metal and Animus is their manifesto of aggression.
Featuring two members who have previous experience in hardcore bands WOLF DOWN and BRUTALITY WILL PREVAIL certainly aids to the mix of influences that bleeds through in the sound that VENOM PRISON have penned for themselves. The hardcore bark of vocalist Larissa Stupar is a far cry from her days as vocalist of WOLF DOWN and are instead layered to create a demonic growl that gives tracks like Abysmal Agony a truly savage bite.
The hardcore pedigree of the bands previous influences is felt the most on the song Desecration of Human Privilege as the final act of the two and a half minute firecracker breaks into an absolute monster riff that will set any mosh pit alight. Immediately after this track VENOM PRISON are quick to show their appreciation for even more extreme works as the black metal tremolo picking of Corrode The Black Sun proves. Animus is a concoction of multiple elements from the extreme underworld of music and they are stitched together with genuine success at times.
When the band try to become a bit more creative with their song writing is where the issues with Animus lie. Immanetize Eschaton tries to focus on structure far more and results in being a slow and dragging track purely through an overwhelming feel that the song doesn’t seem to go anywhere. Animus seems to lose momentum in general within its second half, which isn’t an overly uncommon detriment to most debut releases. VENOM PRISON have a strong sound but don’t do enough with it to maintain interest throughout the entire album. Devoid does well to pull it back with a breakneck opening and tremendous pacing throughout the track as well, as it surges with aggression before placing the heaviest drop on the album as its climax. Ending on Womb Forced Animus is an odd choice to because the track somewhat fades off, completely negating a sense of fulfilment and making the final moments of the album very disappointing.
Death metal is an intriguing genre purely because of its incredibly intricate sound that on the surface appears easy but is in fact tremendously delicate. With Animus, VENOM PRISON have been able to find a working recipe that has created a genuinely strong and aggressive debut. With a patchwork selection of influences from their hardcore background to far more straight forward blast beats, VENOM PRISON aren’t afraid to show just what has gone into their sound, and whilst upon immediate reaction it sounds brilliant it is only with further listens that it becomes clear that VENOM PRISON need to refine their sound. When they hit their stride, the band deliver some incredibly well done death metal fused fantastically with a hardcore punch however despite all of this, it will be the future albums VENOM PRISON release that will truly define them. Animus remains a mighty fine starting point for them though.
Animus is set for release on October 14th via Prosthetic Records.
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