Venom Inc. Unleash Fury On NYC 1-9-16 w/ Necrophagia

Iconic UK band Venom has been a notorious influence in the world of Heavy Metal over many years now. In fact, many consider them pioneers in Black Metal after their sophomore 1982 release of the album entitled Black Metal. Looking back at the history of the band, the Venom legacy has taken a split over the years, where the Venom name now stays with frontman Conrad “Cronos” Lant, who added new members,  in 2007 Stuart “La Rage” Dixon on guitar, and in 2009 Danny “Dante” Needham on drums. However, for Venom co-founding member Guitarist Jeff “Mantas” Dunn and Drummer Anthony “Abaddon” Bray, the band name Iron & Steel, was not enough. The name did not showcase who they are since Venom has been in their veins since the late seventies. Reuniting with former Venom bassist/vocalist, Tony “Demolition Man” Dolan, the trio have had a fine history together that managed to release 1989’s Prime Evil, 1991’s Temples of Ice, and 1992’s The Waste Lands during the Grunge-Rock era. After spending time situating themselves, a rebirth emerged and the name Venom Inc. was officially announced in April 2015.

Kicking their initial debut live for fans at the Keep it True Festival in Lauda-Königshofen, Germany back in April, followed by Heavy Montréal in August, they continued their voyage around the world, concluding 2015 with stops at the Iron and Steel European as well as South American shows. Originally set for a 2015 Fall North American tour, that was postponed due to Visa issues, early 2016 sees over twenty slated dates of Venom Inc. throughout the first month. A few days into their run, on Saturday, January 9th, they hit New York City for a brutal evening at Webster Hall’s Marlin Room with direct support from Necrophagia, along with New York local acts Metalfier and Extinction A.D.

First up of the night was Long Island, NY Heavy Metal act Extinction A.D. No stranger to the Metal scene, they have opened up for acts such as Black Fast, Havok, and Unearth. Currently supporting their 2015 release of Faithkiller under Good Fight Music, the album has received praised reviews. Rick Jimenez (vocals/guitar), Pieter van den Berg (bass), Mike Sciulara (drums), and Ian Cimaglia (guitar) powered onto the stage with a confident demeanor as they appeared eager to deliver their fresh new tunes to the crowd. Jimenez held an aggressive energy where his influences by legends Pantera and Testament were noticed. Jimenez and Cimaglia continued to rip into powerful guitar riffs, which demonstrated their determination even further. Instrumentals continued to flourish with Van den Berg’s rich basslines and Sciulara’s rapid percussion awakened the early crowd. Jimenez’s energy continued as he demanded circle pits in the crowd and fled into “Faithkiller.” Keeping the momentum, with fists raised up high, they flowed into tracks such as “Rot in Pain” and “Instruments of Death.” Check out the album and try to see them again on February 7th at the Gramercy Theatre in NYC as they will be opening for Voivod.

After a short break, New York City’s Metalfier were ready to tackle the platform. Their goal has been to, “transform everyone into a Metalhead,” as they opened up for acts including LA Guns, Doro Pesch, and Queensrÿche. The band has gone through several lineup changes since the beginning in 2004. The latest includes longest running member Andrew Janda (lead vocals/guitar), followed by Miguel Angel Rodriguez (bass), Jedrek Bielawiec (drums), and Jeffrey Monge (lead guitar). The crowd packed up as the band carried Jack and Cokes onto the stage in support of the late Lemmy from Motörhead, as his memorial service was that evening. Taking a quick chug before they began their set had many raise their drinks in the air. Sustaining a strong energy, they moved into tracks such as “Holidaze” and “Heavy Metal Life.” As the set continued to heat up, Janda threatened the audience with, “If you don’t know the next one, get the fuck out,” as they ripped into Metallica’s “Damage Inc.” The set moved along consistently until a group of Bikers from the pack “The Unknown” gathered on the stage for a surprising treat, followed by closing with “There’s a Devil Inside My Head.” Metalfier frequently performs in the New York City area as they will open for the Queen of Metal, Doro Pesch, at Blackthorn 51 in Elmhurst Queens on March 6th.

The atmosphere changed as the set morphed to a scene from a Horror flick as the Ohio-based Necrophagia were ready to haunt the audience. It was at Venom Inc.’s request that Necrophagia would tour with them, and they could not refuse. Continuing to support 2014’s WhiteWorm Cathedral, under Season of Mist, they spent most of 2015 touring with 1349 on the Chaos Raids North American Tour. Known to be one of the first Death Metal acts in the United States, their initial formation was in 1983, during the same time as Death and Morbid Angel. However, they are referred to as pioneers in the Horror-Metal subgenre. After facing a near-decade hiatus, it was after their 1998 return, when Holocausto de la Morte released, which featured Pantera’s Phil Anselmo, that brought them to new heights. Their cannibalistic name originates from the Greek words nekron (corpse) and phagein (to eat), and they bring this gore and horror directly to the stage.

Known for ongoing lineup changes where Frank “Killjoy” Pucci is the only original member, he and his pack were ready, along with a beautiful collection of human remains. The introduction brought chills to the audience’s spines as Killjoy walked on, carrying a bloody and ripped human head onto the platform. Moving into more bloodshed, Killjoy gripped the skeletal mic-stand as he poured out his thirst to terrify during “Bloodfreak,” from Holocausto de la Morte. Dominating the stage with a tremendous amount of energy, Killjoy moved endlessly during tracks “Dead Skin Slave,” “Upon Frayed Lips of Silence,” “Embalmed Yet I Breathe,” and the latest “Hexen Nacht.” Killjoy continued to raise body parts, including a torso and a rotted disembodied leg, as though they were part of a ritualistic experiment with a goblet filled with red liquid of sorts. Fans enjoyed this live act of terror as the set concluded with “Dead Among Us” and the ultimate finale of “Cannibal Holocaust.” Once the tour officially wraps up, Necrophagia will head back to the studio to record their next album. Rumors have sprung already with hints of it being non-stop Metal aggression, so much more for the band is in the near future.

The venue appeared packed, as a few fans eagerly cried out, “Venom!” A large space cleared out on the stage, leaving a full platform for the iconic Venom Inc. to dominate. Bray slowly walked onto the stage first, as he stared out to the sea of dedicated fans before taking his seat. Dunn and Dolan followed shortly after, where fans reached their arms towards the stage in hopes to catch a handshake. Without any hesitation, the trio ripped into the classic “Prime Evil.” Keeping the momentum, they fired up the room with an intense energy when the set moved into “Die Hard.” Hammering along with Venom classics “Don’t Burn the Witch,” “Live Like an Angel (Die Like a Devil),” “Buried Alive,” and “Raise the Dead” had fans continue to cry out “Venom” repeatedly. The audience held an immense amount of enthusiasm as a few jumped onto the stage to headbang with the Metal titans. Dunn and Dolan continued the set as they politely kicked the fans off the stage with a simple point to move out of the way. Dunn engaged with the crowd as he shook their hands and kneeled before them during “One Thousand Days in Sodom” and “Warhead.” Appreciating the feedback, Dunn stated, “New Yorkers are badasses,” and moved into “Schizo” from 1981’s Welcome to Hell, followed by “The Seven Gates of Hell.” It was at this point when Dolan shared a bottle of Jack Daniels to the audience in memory of the late Lemmy, where several fans managed to take a sip, or two.

Webster Hall’s Marlin Room was set with such intimacy, fans were lucky to witness these icons in a personal setting. A few continued to jump on the stage or even sit in the corner, or run to grab a quick sip of Jack Daniels that was sitting near Bray. Unexpectedly, one managed to perform a forward and backward roll on the platform. Luckily, he did not take Dolan or Dunn down with him. Despite these unexpected surprises, the trio continued performing ruthlessly, however, Dolan, at one point, looked as though he was holding in laughter. Carrying on with their blistering set, tracks “In Nomine Satanas” and “Bloodlust” flowed as the energy did not diminish.

As the clock passed the venue’s curfew, Dolan shouted out, “Fuck curfews! One rule, there are no rules. Do you want to go to hell?” The crowd raised their Metal horns as “Sons of Satan” fired in. Dunn emphasized the importance it was for the fans to be there that night, calling all of them “Metal Brothers and Sisters,” for if it weren’t for the fans, Venom Inc. would be non-existent. Continuing to converse, Dunn introduced the next track, “Thirty-something years ago, we wrote a song that some people say this song changed the face of Heavy Metal, but I don’t know about that bullshit, my friends. You make it of what you will. Two words my friends,” the room shouted along with Dunn, “Black Metal.” Despite going past the curfew even further, Venom Inc. snuck in two more tracks and concluded the night with “Countess Bathory” and “Witching Hour.”

A solid offering of killer Venom classics, many fans did not want the evening to come to an end. Sometimes bands splitting up into two separate names can be confusing to their followers. Nonetheless, Venom Inc. are doing a great job of making it clear who they are as they educated fans who are loving every minute of what they are coming to learn. Hopefully, Venom Inc. will return for another run after a fresh new album is recorded. In the meantime, Venom Inc. continues to spread hell before the tour concludes on January 28th down in Texas.

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