When I first saw Venom Prison live last year, they gave me the impression of seeing a young Walls of Jericho. Although played brilliantly, their mix of fast paced Metal and muscular Hardcore didn’t bring anything new to the table. Fast forward a few month ago when they opened for Homewrecker, even my biased attitude could not stand much longer in the face of such an impressive band. Even if the music was still not my cup of tea, Venom Prison had obviously more to offer than Walls of Jericho and my first comment had probably been more motivated by the gender of their singer making me a sexist asshole. Now convinced, I pushed play when their first full length, Animus, went up online and streamed it, and again, and again.
Undoubtedly, Venom Prison has now become more than just a Metallic hardcore made to throw punches at invisible enemies. Animus is the sound of a band demonstrating a whole generation how to mix Death Metal and Hardcore without sounding like a Coal Chamber clone. Animus bring us back to the « old days » of The Red Chord when Floridian Death metal and Hardcore moshing and shouted vocals were a pleasant novelty. However, what Animus isn’t, is anything pleasant. Mean, angry, bitter, but definitely not pleasant or accommodating. Compared to what the Deathcore sound has become, Venom Prison still has a lot in common with All Out War or early Kickback but with more tremolo picking and double bass drum parts!
With Immanetize Eschaton, Venom Prison also shows a more touching side when the anguished screams of their frontwoman meet a powerful melody during the chorus. This same track concludes on a minimalist guitar and a feedback drone instead of a dominant power chord like in most tough guy songs, leaving the listener with the impression of a violent battle fought with determination but with no hope of any catharsis. Desecration of human privilege, Devoid or the concluding song, Womb forced animus are performed with a strength sadly lacking from most modern production in Brutal Death metal. Venom Prison are not only proving that Death metal and Hardcore can be hard hitting genres together but also that Modern Death metal is no longer as memorably violent as the genre should be. Such determination is not just refreshing but also reassuring in a field where most Brutal Death metal albums are either overproduced Slam macho bullshit or technically obsessed masturbatory exercise. Animus is a well-crafted album full of excellent songs which flow with a hostile desire to break down every barrier that could possibly be placed in front of them. Question is: Who would dare oppose such a powerful force?