Animus by Venom PrisonRelease date: October 14, 2016
Label: Prosthetic Records
Ever since the band formed in 2014, Venom Prison have been churning out their brand of brutal death metal with a touch of a hardcore feel about it. With their new album Animus they have reached new peaks of heaviness with even one listen to the album being enough to realise why they are so highly regarded in the realms of extreme music and with repeated listens, you comprehend just how good a band they are and just how good this album is.
After an atmospheric sampled intro, Animus explodes in a full on rage with ‘Abysmal Agony’ and its full on death metal riffs that crackle with electricity. Vocalist Larissa Stupars superior vocals take command and you can’t help but be swept away with the sheer hatred that swamps you. This savage start continues through the whole album with songs like ‘Desecration Of Human Privilege’, the hardcore blast of ‘Perpetrator Emasculation’ and the grooving stomp of ‘Devoid’ containing that vital Venom Prison energy and demonstrated just how on top of their game the band are.
There are a few relenting moments of beauty on Animus such as the haunting outro on the otherwise brutal ‘Corrode The Black Sun’ (with its deathly groove really standing out along with rousing lyrics declaring “Yet another tragedy unfolds. The seed of fascism is planted and thriving. Bearing fear and hatred“, a definite sign of these uncertain times we are currently living in) and this is a pure lesson in musical brutality. These moments offer a fleeting calm before the chaos kicks off again as in this instance as the following track and album highlight ‘Immanetize Eschaton’ steamrolls its crushing groove with a Domination era Morbid Angel vibe initially before morphing into something even more powerful. The sound on this song and one that prevails on Animus has an evil feel coursing through it, but not a horror film style fake evil, a real human evil with the vocals spewing real and infectious hatred, perfect for this modern world that we live in.
That human evil is explored in the lyrics on Animus (as well as the cover artwork for the album) with songs dealing with the evils of misogyny, rape culture and oppression in an eye opening manner, which turns the table on the usual death metal lyrical fare and a stand that Venom Prison should rightly be applauded for and is refreshing for a metal band to do this. What also elevates Animus above mere death metal pretenders is the songs and the power of their execution, which is seamless, the production is also faultless allowing the energy of the band to really shine through.
Animus is relentless in its violent ferocity and has to rank as not only one of the best metal (death or otherwise) releases in recent memory, but also the fact that with its energy has that hardcore feel about it The sheer power of the material here will appeal to fans of both those styles of music and beyond and what you have is a masterpiece of genuine viciousness and one to be revelled in. It’s not for the faint of heart, but if you can handle it, you will be justly rewarded.