Venom

Greatest Hits and More

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If Motörhead was the first thrash metal/speed metal band, Venom was arguably the second. Greatly influenced by Motörhead, Venom was among the most blistering and ferocious metal bands to emerge in the early 1980s; and its sledgehammer riffs (which, like Motorhead, combined metal's brutality with the speed of punk) helped pave the way for the likes of Slayer, Metallica, Testament, and Megadeth. Greatest Hits and More, released in 2000, unites two previously released Venom collections, In Memorium: 1981-1984 and the double-CD New Live and Rare, as a three-CD set. For the casual listener or the novice, three CDs is excessive; those checking out Venom for the first time would be better off with a more concise collection. But the more seasoned Venom fans will find a lot to admire about this set, and such fans are exactly who New Live and Rare (a collection of rarities and live tracks that came out in 1998) was aimed at. Meanwhile, In Memorium: 1981-1994 is more appropriate for the novice. It contains the definitive versions of gems like "Welcome to Hell," "Raise the Dead," "Angel Dust," "Black Metal," and "Buried Alive," although a demo of "At War With Satan" is the sort of thing that only a hardcore Venom fan would find interesting. Again, Greatest Hits and More isn't recommended to casual listeners. It takes a seasoned Venom fan to fully appreciate what this three-CD set has to offer.

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