Venom Inc. Ave Australis Tour (Sydney, NSW)

23 February 2018 at Manning Bar

As an ex-teenage fan, and someone who admittedly had never heard the band we almost didn’t show up, but goddamn were we glad we did.

Murder World were exceptional for a four-piece sharing a tiny stage with a drum kit. Playing a very modern mixture of later era Onslaught and Testament, they surprisingly had the best mix of the night (although in a one guitar set up you really should go for the bulldozer bass!). A Dean Razorback (Dimebag’s guitar) makes a big statement: ‘I shred better than you’, and there was no disappointment there. Dive bombs, sweeps and pinched harmonics, the whole lot.

Desecrator were a bit more old school in both sound and performance. Their music benefits from having two guitars to add greater depth to their mix and they take full advantage of that. You can’t be a fan of tasty riffs and not love these guys, blown away by their solos, and how much fun they were having, it was infectious. It was an incredibly tight performance for maniacs head banging across the stage. They seemed a little bit disappointed that the crowd wasn’t matching their enthusiasm, but were very appreciative of their fans.

Overall both supports did a great job, everyone was pumped up for Venom Inc., rather than relieved the supports were done (we’ve all been to those gigs).

Things were quite tense at first, no doubt due to the unfamiliarity with their recent material, but by the end of Welcome to Hell the crowd was absolutely enthralled. Abaddon stood from his kit and shouted to the back of the room only to be drowned by the crowd’s cheers, and there within laid the heart of Venom Inc. – their undeniable willpower. Despite the reputation they were clearly at the top of their game. Mantas flayed the metal from his guitar strings in every way possible. One watched in awe as he raised his neck to the roof while hammering and pulling away at lightning speed. Demo Man’s gigantic bass tone really set the openers in their place. If anything, the sound was too big and bleed from mic to mic, but that’s the price of power. It got a bit unhinged at the start of War and the beat became a bit hard to follow, yet their overwhelming tenacity brought it all together.

The crowd was mostly a mix of old school black metal fans and thrasher on their best behaviour, which made for a very relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere. It was fantastic to see so many people finally get the opportunity to see a band they clearly loved on such a deep level, and at this stage had likely given up on seeing in Australia. Venom Inc. make a lot of other bands make sense, as the originators of Blackened Thrash. They were Blackened Thrash before Black Metal existed to blacken thrash with. It was humbling considering that Venom’s brand of drugs, pubs and Satan came out in the early eighties and after almost 40 years they’re still going wild.

Missing Venom Inc. would have been a travesty, and we’re glad we took the opportunity, so take it while you still can or get ready for Sabbat in May.

Line-up: Venom Inc., Desecrator, Murder World

Reviewer: Max Campbell and Damien Beckman-Scott of the University of Sydney Metal Society