2016’s Animus was a highlight of the year for me, and then catching them at that year’s Damnation Festival and interviewing them cemented their position as one of my favourite death metal bands that the UK has to offer.
Venom Prison’s virulent brand of death metal is made extra virile through hardcore elements and even a few vicious black metal touches here and there. Samsara finds the band more ferocious and brutal than ever, as if everything has been consciously ramped up to the next level of extremity and intensity. This approach works wonders, as the natural aggression of Venom Prison is perfectly complemented by the band’s songwriting skill and feral, energetic character.
Every song has its own violent personality and ferocious character, and each one has its own identity and personalty. There’s no filler here. Venom Prison have managed to create songs that each stand proudly on their own in isolation, while also working holistically as a full album with an enviable flow.
Overall the average song length has increased when compared to the debut album, and the songs are more involved and developed. It’s certainly not wasted time, however, and Samsara makes every second of violence count, expanding their methods of carnage in the process. The mix of aggressive technicality and straightforward scything brutality is compelling and highly addictive. Despite the longer playing time, (which is still only a modest 42 minutes, compared to the first album’s 34 minutes), it’s very easy to just play this album all over again once it has finished.
The singer of Venom Prison had a very distinctive voice on Animus, and on Samsara she has taken things even further. Her performance on these new songs is exemplary and she sounds better than ever. This is nasty stuff, in the best of ways.
Samsara is the sound of a band taking everything that worked so well on their sterling debut album and making these aspects bigger and better, while simultaneously expanding their sound with newer elements that slot in perfectly alongside their venomous, (ahem), delivery.
Essential listening for any extreme metal fan.