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General Metal Discussions » Were Venom the most important band to come out of the NWOBHM?
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  • I have always thought that Venom were the most important band to come out of the NWOBHM due to the sheer amount of bands they influenced and how they created a new subgenre. Other bands were content to adapt the heavy metal formula (with some going completely commercial or progressive), but Venom listened to what Motorhead had been and were doing, and pushed it up to 11!

    It'll be interesting to hear what other people think about this point.
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    In my opinion?
    No. Absolutely not.
    They were garbage. A joke band.
    They couldn't believe it when people took them seriously & they laughed all the way to the bank.
    To compare Venom in any way to Motorhead is akin to shitting on Lemmy's grave.

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    highly mediocre band, totally overrated.
    in terms of influence, popularity, importance, media coverage, cultural impact and just as an historical name that comes across when you think about nwobhm...well, I just say one name: Iron Maiden
    and not because I like them or I appreciate them for what they did in the nwobhm and the metal from then onward: it's just the mark they left in the last 40 years on media, books, record history

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    Wow, I never expected that much negativity. By the way, I never said I compared Venom's sound with Motorhead's; I just meant that Venom were openly influenced by them. Lemmy thought Venom were awful, an opinion which he was entitled to.

    Iron Maiden are an important band in the NWOBHM canon and they helped push heavy metal forward, especially power / progressive metal, but Venom were the pioneers of black metal and helped influence some of the most important bands in extreme metal, such as Sodom, Hellhammer / Celtic Frost, Voivod, etc. In my opinion, instead of just being heavy metal, they supercharged it beyond anything heard before.

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    I think people tend to look at things like this with a lot of personal bias. Venom is a band that I do happen to like a lot, but I can look beyond my interest in them to see that they influenced a lot of bands.
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    drterror666 wrote:Wow, I never expected that much negativity. By the way, I never said I compared Venom's sound with Motorhead's; I just meant that Venom were openly influenced by them. Lemmy thought Venom were awful, an opinion which he was entitled to..


    To be fair, riptorn WAS there in the UK metal scene, and his friends and him thought Venom were a joke band.

    He explained a lot of this in some other threads -

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    Thanks for 'quoting' my earlier posts spaceman, I hadn't remembered that i'd vented my spleen on the subject of Venom here before, and after reading them again just now i think i was probably fairer and explained my point of view far better on both of those prior occasions.
    My opinion of Venom was undoubtedly shaped by my geographical location & the era i grew up in, and i feel that those are both huge factors in how anyone views Venom in the here & now.
    As i suggested in one of my prior postings, at the time, here in the UK, the Metal press derided the band to an outrageous degree, and they were seen by Metal fans here as a joke or a 'hype'.
    They always topped the 'worst band' category in the end of year readers polls, they never sold very many records & as a result they barely played live in the UK because there was absolutely no demand.
    Once they'd tasted a bit of overseas success they came across as arrogant & boastful in their interviews, further antagonising any audience they might potentially have cultivated here by talking up how 'huge' they were in the U.S. & suggesting that the UK market was too 'small time' for them to bother about anyway.
    With hindsight i totally get it, they were excited young guys full of piss & vinegar, fresh back from a Stateside adventure where they couldn't believe how big they'd become, suddenly back in their home country where they were absolutely hated. If i'd been in their shoes i'd probably have felt completely justified in lashing out and rubbing a few noses in my new found success too, but that attitude didn't persuade anyone to give them a chance & even the negative press they had been getting all but disappeared.
    To be fair, they did influence a lot of the emerging younger US & European bands, many of whom went on to huge success as the Thrash scene exploded, and, to their credit, those bands always acknowledged Venom as an influence in interviews.
    The best of those bands like Voivod, Slayer, Celtic Frost etc. quickly outgrew their influences and found their own highly distinctive sounds, but Venom themselves ran out of ideas very quickly & were then superceded by those very same bands that cited them as an influence.
    The modern day veneration of Venom, i believe, is perhaps more to do with the credit that the likes of Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth, Bathory et al continue to give them, than it is about Venom's actual musical legacy.
    As you get older you begin to realise that a lot of revisionism goes on over time.
    People change their opinions, they remember or report things differently from how they actually took place, they shift their position to make it appear that they were always on the 'winning' side of an argument, and it seems to me that Venom have benefitted greatly from the revisionist retelling of their story.
    How does that line go? Tell a story often enough & it becomes a legend.
    I do realise that my thoughts on the subject are highly unlikely to change anyone's mind, i'm not arrogant enough to think that my meagre words weild that kind of power, i'm just sharing my point of view.
    Music is a highly subjective & personal matter of taste, and if Venom's your cup of tea then good for you.
    It's not for me, but each to their own.
    (cheers1)

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    drterror666 wrote:By the way, I never said I compared Venom's sound with Motorhead's; I just meant that Venom were openly influenced by them. Lemmy thought Venom were awful, an opinion which he was entitled to.


    I wasn't saying you had compared Venom's sound with Motorhead's. I chose my words very carefully.

    riptorn wrote:To compare Venom in any way to Motorhead is akin to shitting on Lemmy's grave.


    (agree)

    Regardless of my opinion on Cronos & co. (and i concede my initial post could have been a little less blunt), your question certainly got us talking, which i think we can all agree is a good thing.

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    Absolutely not. I like Venom but Iron Maiden and Motörhead (hell, even early Diamond Head) has done a lot more for metal than Venom ever did. I'm not saying they sucks, because again, I like their early years (Mantas, Chronos and Abaddon is a inconic trio for me), but they were an incredible unprofesional band, and even to these days Chronos is still a shadow of his former self.

    I can respect their raw attitute and the energy they put in their shows (I can't deny that I love the 85' London concert, but come on, it was a total mess), but their act became stale very quick. Hell, I prefer Bulldozer and "The Day of Wrath" is to me better than anything that Venom has ever done.
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    Thanks for the replies; it's interesting to see everyone's opinions. I have a completely different outlook on Venom. Before they appeared, I was into AC/DC, Motorhead, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and the like. When I bought the second album, Black Metal, I was completely blown away; it was the album that changed my musical trajectory and sent me down the path of extreme metal. I hold the original trilogy of albums in high regard, although I'm the first to admit they haven't aged very well. I'll also admit that Possessed, the fourth album, was utter shite and killed any love I had for the band; they had real trouble trying to reinvent themselves and have only recently created anything of interest.

    The thing I noticed as the years went by were the amount of bands influenced by Venom's blackened take on metal; at first, these bands would try to emulate Venom's sound, but would create something totally different, which is the way with art. Hence, why it has been my opinion that they were important for the scene, because of the amount of bands they influenced and the various subgenres they helped create.

    I don't care what anyone thinks of the band members or the fact they were lambasted by the press (as also happened with many other bands who dared to be different); I was pushed out of the heavy metal scene by my own 'friends' who couldn't believe I was listening to 'crap' like Venom. I just care about the question I asked originally. I don't feel like I'm swayed by any nostalgia for the band, because I'm not like that; I try to be as objective as possible and base my opinions on what I've read down the years by other bands.

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    A very important band, who never took themselves seriously. They did, however, shape a lot of genres of metal for years to come. I still enjoy all Venom releases to this day, and love to the energy and vibe of what they do

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    Whilst I can't agree with your assertions Dr Terror, it was certainly an interesting idea/topic you came up with, which i very much enjoyed debating.
    Often people's love of a band can blind them to their shortcomings, but you freely admitted some of Venom's shortcomings and gave a fair, well-worded & well-weighted defence of the band and even-handedly addressed some of the issues others had with them
    Fair play to you, it's not likely that i'll change my mind about the band after all these years, but you made a good case for them and didn't take umbrage at anyone elses opinions.
    I totally respect that my friend, and just wish there were a few more like you here, willing & able to intelligently debate a topic without it turning into a playground argument.
    Have a beer on me.
    (cheers1)

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    Cheers, riptorn. You don't know how many topics I've tried to start on various forums just to be completely flamed and, eventually, ignored. Intelligent conversation is what it's all about; Greek society can teach us a lot about that (wink)

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    so when At War With Satan was released, I bought a copy at the now defunct Sam The Record Man store on Yonge Street.

    I think I walked south from Bloor Street and hit every record store and at Sam's, it was either the cheapest, or it was almost the same price and I wasn't walking back 10 or 15 block s to save a buck, as the Dundas/Yonge subway stop, or getting the streetcar back home was couple blocks away.

    I don't know know about the rest of you are, but in the 1980s, for local transit (bus/streetcar/subway), if you could walk fast, and knew exactly which routes to take, you could go across town and go back home on the same bus ticket/transfer.
    These days, like in Hamilton, as long as the transfer has not timed out, it is good to for traveling in any direction.
    When I grew up, you had to keep changing directions to get on a new transit vehicle.
    hey,why pay twice for a bus ride ? If you are a teenager with limited funds (and not a thief), you figure out how to stretch your money!

    anyways...
    so, when I am buying At War With Satan, I'm a long-haired 16 year old, and the cashiers (in their 40s or 50s) are laughing at me and saying "I hope it comes with a lyric sheet"... :@

    Another time, at that same Sam's location, I forgot which album it was for, but this was around 1984 or 1985, and one cashier is a real asshole and starts to flip out, (could have been one of the same jerks that laughed at me) and says some LP is garbage and offensive and they aren't going to sell it anymore when a customer brings it up to the counter, and the cashier walks over into the aisles and starts pulling records off the rack, saying he is sending them back.

    Then after i say what is happening to adults wondering what is going on, (and they are not even metal, just regular rock fans), they start getting pissed off, yelling about freedom and censorship at the guy, (this was wayyyyyyy BEFORE anything like the PMRC), and finally a manager-type guy comes over to tell the guy to get back to the register and leave everything alone.

    Pretty crazy stuff, huh ?
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    It's generally accepted that Iron Maiden were the most successful commercially. If you read Dickinson's autobiography 'What does that button do', he makes some interesting points about the movement itself; namely, that it wasn't a 'new' wave of British heavy metal as many of the bands involved had already been around for years. It was only called that by the magazine 'Sounds' who turned their attention towards metal more when punk began to die out.
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    Venom thinking of themselves as a joke should probably have no bearing on their importance. Likewise, their music being "garbage" isn't necessarily relevant as their influence was more of an aesthetic one. After all, when Black Sabbath first appeared, a lot of people probably laughed at them too. And Sabbath's aesthetic was absolutely crucial for establishing heavy metal as a genre on its own rather than just a style of song used by rock bands.

    I wouldn't pin too much importance on any one band in this case, but I agree that Venom's influences have permeated metal a little more than Iron Maiden's.

    The interesting thing is that by 1981, lots of punk bands sounded like they were taking Motörhead and pushing it to 11 too: The Exploited, GBH, Discharge, Dayglo Abortions, Vice Squad, Minor Threat... even Napalm Death formed in 1981 as a hardcore punk band. So the music was getting more extreme anyway, but it might've taken longer for that sound to appear on the heavy metal side of things.

    I'm seeing Venom Inc live this month, should be fun!
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    Venom certainly influenced a lot of bands...including early Metallica. You can actually hear a lot of Venom influence in their early pre-Kill 'em All days and on their first LP. At that time they toured with Venom and actually emulated quite a bit.
    They played tighter though so that's why probably it sounds better, Venom were always very loose sounding, like the song might break apart any second :)

    Still, they managed to be totally original in sound and visually they also influenced the whole BM movement.

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    Bloopy wrote:I'm seeing Venom Inc live this month, should be fun!

    I can confirm they were great. They only played a small venue and didn't get a sold out crowd, but a large proportion of the crowd were members of local extreme metal bands so they must've done something important. (yep)

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    They definitely were fairly important though maybe not absurdly important to the same degree Celtic Frost or Slayer were. They helped push the idea of hellish, satanic, dirty, punky metal which helped create a breeding ground for all kinds of general extremity. However in that sense, their influence isn't really on a specific style or genre as much as an idea of a spikes and leather devil-may-care underground. Their influence doesn't go very far (you won't be hearing any Venom even in a lot of "new old school" death or black metal) but they laid down their most important works at the right time and place, helping to kickstart a revolution along with the help of Metallica, Slayer, Motorhead, Acid, and other early speed/thrash purveyors.

    Basically, not as unimportant as detractors would claim but far from completely changing the entire paradigm like the alcoholic black-thrashers might. A bit of both.
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    I think they did, a whole slew of bands like Metallica, Slayer, Possessed were directly influenced by them. Slayer and Metallica toured with Venom when they were still unknown and you can definitely hear those influences.

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    I guess there can be no more than two answers to who was the most influential band to come out of NWOBHM - if Motörhead is rather considered to be one of the movement's fathers than its sons.

    * Iron Maiden, of course.
    Admittedly having been around for a while, they did not get their record contract until after the "NWOBHM" term was coined, and their debut really fit the scene. Although they quite significantly changed on Number..., they still count. And if they count at all, they are possibly the biggest band to come out of the NWOBHM.
    Influence? Of course. More or less the entire "true metal" musical style is Maiden worship.
    (The lack of Sabbathness makes "true metal" a true misnomer, but I digress.)

    * Venom, of course.
    A major influence on Metallica, on Hellhammer, on Slayer and on Mayhem. Harder to tell about Bathory, due to Quorthon (pbuh) talking shit about pretty much everything.
    Influence? Have meant more to extreme metal than Maiden have meant to "true metal", I think.

    Verdict ... ? I'd say Venom, because extreme metal is a more radical departure than Maiden-ish metal.

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