Mandatory Metal: Venom - Temples Of Ice Review
by Matt Hensch
Most metalheads know the story behind Venom, but few could explain the post-Cronos era. When Cronos left Venom, Tony "Demolition Man" Dolan came in to take up bass and lead vocals. "Prime Evil" showed that this new line-up was able to present the same type of headbanging fury that Venom once delivered, but after "Prime Evil," fans began to drift away from Venom. Once the fanbase began to shrink, a new album that was just as powerful as Prime Evil was released, but has been repressed from Venom's history. Temples Of Ice is the forgotten album of Venom's legacy.
Venom has always been known to put on a great guitar show. Mantas lives up to all the past expectations due to his fantastic playing. The guitar work is always thrashy riffs that are nice, catchy and fast. Mantas's guitar playing takes a different turn on "Playtime" and "Faerie Tale" when his guitar riffs lean toward a more heavy metal driven sound. Mantas also displays a great deal of wild solos. Every song on Temples Of Ice has at least one solo that is always memorable and fast. The technicality of the solos show just how talented Mantas is. The solos during "Playtime" and "Even In Heaven" are the best example of this and are simply mind-blowing because of all the notes he hits within just a couple seconds.
The one thing that made this album different from other Venom albums is the new addition of band members. Steve "War Machine" White and Al Barnes played perfectly along side Mantas and the two new guitarists really helped out the overall sound. On the song "Even In Heaven," they accompany the fading solo with an acoustic bridge, but the best situation is on "Speedking" where Mantas and War Machine copy each other's solos again and again, which really makes "Speedking" exciting. Venom just didn't stop at the two guitarists, they even added some keyboards. New keyboardist V.X.S makes a small mark on "Temples Of Ice," which is pretty dissapointing. All V.X.S does is add small samples into the songs. "Tribes" has a humorous sample that has a woman saying "Oh s***," and he plays this strange tango sample on "Acid," but that's it; other then that, his presence is basically invisible.
Tony Dolan showed in Prime Evil that he could replace Cronos, and he does here as well. One thing that makes his vocal performance seem good is that his vox are very similiar to Cronos. His voice is gruff and loud, which really represents the usual Venom vocal style. The main thing that really makes Dolan amazing on this album is his flawless bass playing. From beginning to end, Temples Of Ice is loaded with bass lines. The bass is now a key part of the sound and is always audible and easy to hear. During "Tribes," Dolan is playing something completely different from the guitarists and his bass is always shooting out unique sounds. The best part of his bass playing is the solo on "Even In Heaven." Toward the end of the song, Dolan goes nuts on his bass and nails incredible notes. Not only does his playing show how talented he is, it shows his bass playing could open new doors that Cronos couldn't.
I wasn't really expecting much from this album since I haven't heard too many good things about it, but I was surprised at how good it was. "Temples Of Ice" is sadly out of print and has been forgotten in the minds of many Venom fans. Try to find this one, it will make you happy.
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Mandatory Metal: Venom - Temples Of Ice
Label:Under One Flag
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