Up and coming death metal outfit, Venom Prison released their debut album on Friday and it is every bit as striking as the album artwork!
Animus is an album full of gnarly riffs, beasty vocals as well as some hardcore and grindcore influences. The opening track, Syllogism, is just sinister. Heavy bass will get ear drums rumbling and an eerie narration leads the listener into the albums first onslaught, the frantic Abysmal Agony. It’s a ripper. The speed and aggression of your typical death metal formula but spliced up in between some heavy slamming breakdowns and bridges. It’s just a shame that this is set up for the next nine songs with glimpses of variations and fantastic potential scattered here and there. The end riff of Desecration of Human Privilege offers so much. So groove laden it really gets the head bopping as well as being ludicrously heavy to get your tough guy face on. You know the one. The frown and aggressive pouting you pull when moshing. The drumming is properly the finest aspect of the album with the concise beats and fills really boosting the chug of the guitars. This is where the hints of grindcore really come into play with the tremolo picked guitars being made all the more hectic by the blast beats. As for songs like Devoid they are a welcome break from the set up. A colossal breakdown awaits to finish the song, and listener, off in style. It would make any beatdown fan cream their pants and easily get a wall to wall pit going.
Now here we go lyrics and themes. I am not going into the whole misogyny in metal debate here. (You can read my thoughts on the matter here: In Defence of Venom Prison, Metal Misogyny?) . With that said the album focus on rape, sexism and misogyny, yes the album artwork is a dude having his privates removed. Its brutal and front woman L screams them with such scorn that you can’t help but feel the hate and anger in the lyrics. Turning the grotesques nature of brutal death and slam metal into a positive light is new and intriguing. If not a little controversial.
Venom Prison have done a cracking job here if only there was some more diversions. Animus builds on the established sounds of their previous EP, Primal Chaos, earning it a 7/10. If you are a fan of modern death metal or extremely heavy music you should check this album out at some point.