VENOM PRISON (GBR) – Erebos, 2022 🇬🇧


VENOM PRISON’s music since day one has been known within the death metal category but, in my view, their music has expanded so much more with the new release that now it is rather very unconventional to be fitting into any of the expected categories of Death Metal, they’re of no-category category.

What had called on me to listen to VENOM PRISON then? Their video clips! Doesn’t sound like the usual way of getting into a death metal band since death metal videos are not known that much for correlating with their music. But VENOM PRISON’s aesthetics drew my attention: they are minimalistic, modern, and surprisingly with a quite feminine approach exactly like the death metal they play, with themes that you do not expect from a death metal band at all, at least not in every song in one album. And yes, they are not that classic death metal music-wise either, I describe the music in the new release influenced by the classic death metal, grindcore, you hear a touch of hardcore, sometimes it gets melodic, a whack of electronic, yet fast -tempo, intense guitars, yet it has its own modern take of death metal embedded with female clean vocals in a song, also with the female focal point of view in the themes of some songs.

If that brought ARCH ENEMY to your mind, you are wrong, VENOM PRISON’s sound stands far from the Swedish melodic death metal approach, I am obviously referring to Angela’s era but even with Alissa, VENOM PRISON is not comparable at all with ARCH ENEMY. Perhaps, that’s why I want to claim that VENOM PRISON’s death metal is of No-category in modern death metal, it does not have any counterpart. So, the best way to grasp this is to listen to their whole discography and compare it with the recent release.

One more special characteristic of this band is that their visual aesthetics are so on point alongside the themes used in music, from the artworks to the videos, they all are strengthening each other. That’s what is leading me to the next point, this band put out a whole package this time. They filled out the void in the death metal scene. The place for music that’s not just pure gore aesthetics, aggression, rebellion, bloodshed, some misogynistic fantasies, and all those common themes used in this style. Here we have a package that is going to tell a cultivated story to the audience. Music, themes, lyrics, vocals, their choice of aesthetics in form of music, and the content are contributing to the deliverance of the music. This whole package of VENOM PRISON’s new release is standing out very eclectically and in the following paragraphs, I explain why.

Erebos is one of the primordial deities in Greek mythology that they did not have any human characteristics, but they represented forces or abstract concepts. Erebos represented darkness and VENOM PRISON rightly used this personification as the title of their 2022’s album. The prelude, “Born from Chaos”, the slowest song in the album with a pinch of symphonic sound, is telling us metaphorically about the birth of Erebos, which in Greek mythology is also born from Chaos. This leads us to «Judges of the Underworld«, a much more fast-tempo solid song with crushing music, which is the place of Erebos. «Judges of the Underworld» takes the mythological figure and describes the unjust judiciary system that does not consider that every society manufactures its own monsters, yet the only solution for these monsters is the prison system.

Afterward, «Nemesis» depicts another scene of the chaos with the usage of chorus structured songwriting. The special turn in the songwriting of the new VENOM PRISON appears in «Nemesis» with the venomously unforgettable chorus, you can easily catch yourself humming with it or even growl along if you can! «Comfort of Complicity’s» instrumental parts are the most intense song musically in this album which judges the criminalization of immigration. Then we arrive at «Pain of Oizys«, which is a highlight of the album for me alongside the «Technologies of Death«. «Pain of Oizys«’ intro of piano and clean vocal are hinting at being a more melodic song in the album yet in the middle of the song you will be surprised. It’s also placed in the perfect part of the album, as a death metal ballad about mental and personal struggles that are an outcome of a society that breeds ill social relations.

Then the «Golden Apples of Hesperides«, the song’s title inspired by Greek mythology, symbolizes the distraction and confusion that media can feed the contemporary society’s vile, and social relations. The title refers to the human’s lust for the impossible which will lead to their selfishness on the way to reaching the impossible and the song tells the story of how media engineers it.

At last, «Technologies of Death«, gives a resolution to the story: “Erebus the bringer of darkness will bring the end” and by playing the exact line which was in the prelude and the album ends with that. Only great storytellers go back to the beginning of the story in the end. All bits and pieces are flowing to the end of the album, giving us a story that is glued perfectly together in every song and in one album. It has an opening as perfect as “Born from Chaos”, a climax as memorable as “Pain of Oizys”, and a resolution as moving as “Technologies of Death”. From the artwork, title of the album, and the songs, it was blinking in the dark to me; this is going to be an intense story to remember.

Through an intense, expressive and furious music, it tells us; it is all interconnected, it is not only individual chemical physiological malfunction in the brain or individual failures, but it is also systems of oppression, it is poverty, racism, sexism, it’s a whole interconnected underworldly situation of chaos and wickedness that leads us to create Erebos. There is no other example from death metal that I can certainly give the verdict they are the epitome of sublime! The VENOM PRISON’s approach in Erebos is what I call a fresh take on a “phallus-oriented”[1] genre. They have employed a form that traditionally used to be busy with reproducing those systems of oppression within their aesthetics, but VENOM PRISON is turning the table towards them. This album puts us on a furious, melancholic, and crushing journey musically which despite the title of the prelude song, “Born from Chaos”, is more structured in the songwriting style than the previous album. VENOM PRISON’s music expanded in performance, creativity, and songwriting so greatly in this release that I could never imagine being this proud of being a huge death metal fan. Not only it is a rarity to sit with a death metal album and never regret a single minute on it but also it is rare to put it on replay nonstop because of the solid music they wrote!

[1] Refers to what Kristin Hayter said in an interview: