Album Review: Venom Prison – Primeval

Welsh death metal outfit Venom Prison revisit the earliest days of the band with the 11 track album Primeval, featuring re-recordings of tracks from EPs Defy The Tyrant and Primal Chaos, as well as two brand new songs.

I’m not usually a fan of re-recordings, but in this case I will happily make an exception. Firstly I don’t (yet) own physical copies of the band’s above-mentioned EPs so with this release I will own them in some form. Secondly, it’s also being released as a really nice splatter vinyl and as I own both studio albums I couldn’t resist.

The first part of Primeval, 2015’s Defy The Tyrant,is immediate in its impact. I went back and listened to both the original versions of both EPs beforehand and hearing tracks such as “Usurper of the Throne “and “Path of Exile” louder and heavier really gives them a new dynamic.

Even though the band have evolved massively in five years – the main reason I was excited about this particular release was the re-recording of what was my introduction to the band, the outstanding EP The Primal Chaos.

This EP for me is perfection – under 20 minutes of sheer terror and brutality. I don’t think it an exaggeration that I was practically salivating over just how marvelous these sound. The re-mixing and re-mastering by producer Tom Dring is phenomenal. “Daemon Vulgaris” is still easily my favourite Venom Prison track to date which is only reinforced on hearing this newer version.

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Personally, at this point, I am more than happy… but then two new tracks sneak in. “Defiant to the Will of God” is the first taster of the direction Venom Prison may intend to go. It’s unrelentingly twinged with unexpected melody, but then the final track “Slayer of Holofernes” blew me away. It almost sounds like it could’ve been on my favourite album of last year – Cattle Decapitation’s Bring Back the Plague – it’s that good.

Now, where’s that Best Of 2020 list gone…?

Of their decision to revisit their earliest tracks, the band say:

Primeval is a snapshot of the earlier days of Venom Prison, simpler times where we locked ourselves in a room for days on end to create the early incarnation of what would be our first collection of songs. Our first release/demo Defy The Tyrant was subsequently born, and we never thought this would lead onto being picked up by Prosthetic Records or touring the world. This became a starting gun for touring and festivals in between the studio to write, including what would become The Primal Chaos. Given the current climate and the global pandemic situation we felt it was appropriate to package together our early material so that it is presented in a form of how it was always intended.

This is what you hear now. Our previous EP’s plus two new tracks to give you an idea of what is to come in future. Our new chapter awaits, the grind must continue.

Everything I was expecting and more – an absolute juggernaut.

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Header image by Andy Ford

Primeval will be released via Prosthetic Records on October 9th

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