Iconic metal troupe Venom return with METAL BLACK, a tour de force of metallic mayhem containing 14-tracks of Satanic diatribes and chunky riffs galore. While many in the loop may dismiss this disc as the outfit cashing in on the surge of metal, lest we forget which band actually brought the face of Lucifer (horns and all) to the forefront of the genre, as well as scared the hell out of the underground scene before we had all of the Hot Topic Goths and black metal kiddies painting their faces. While much of METAL BLACK comes off as tongue in cheek and devoid of any real peril, tracks like “Blessed Dead” musters enough firepower to warrant repeated listens and “Antechrist”, while unthreateningly issuing its refrain of “Satan calls you”, still packs a ferocious punch. And of course, the vocal delivery of Cronos remains one of the most unique and engaging in all of metal, as he screams, growls, and bellows his way through songs like “Sleep When I’m Dead” and “A Good Day to Die” with unbridled attitude and unsurpassed evil. Venom may not be pushing any envelopes on METAL BLACK, but after their undisputed legacy, do they really need to? Instead, metal fans get a treat courtesy of the English pioneers who invented black metal and manage to still sound somewhat relevant, yet arguably less potent, some 25 years later.