Overall Score: 9.5/10 Music: 10/10 vocals: 9/10 replay value: 9/10 Pros: A hugely confident step up in quality. Cons: Virtually nothing
If you are bold enough to give your album a name that means “a suffering-laden cycle of life, death, and rebirth, without beginning or end” then you had better be prepared to deliver on the lofty expectations you have put upon yourself.
Venom Prison are such a band and their sophomore album Samsara is an album of such sheer brutality and unrelenting bleakness that you will feel like you are living through your own never ending cycle of suffering. That is not hyperbole and even it was, there is nothing that can prepare you for how vicious and punishing this album really is.
Opening with the monolithic Matriphagy, which comes barrelling out of the gates like an angry Leviathan threatening to crush everything in it’s path. It’s a thrilling way to kick off the album and tells you very early that this will be a very different beast to Animus and all the better for it.
Uterine Industrialisation which was everyone’s first taste of this album somehow manages to sound even more horrific amd nightmarish within the context of the album. It still manages to stand out from the pack with it’s unfiltered rage and blistering pace complete with a scorching guitar and a thundering breakdown to end on. It’s easily one of the highlights on an album full of them.
Sadistic Rituals and Self Inflicted Violence keep things rattling along and give you a better look at the band Venom Prison have become. While both are exceptionally heavy, they also employ elements of doom, groove and thrash delivering several different flavours of brutality on your death metal sundae. It shows a maturity and nuance that puts them head and shoulders above everyone else in the scene.
Deva’s Enemy offers some relief in the form of the album’s quietest moment. Even as an instrumental interlude, it still somehow manages to completely unnverve and unsettle you providing it’s own mini journey into hell. It’s an interesting moment that adds another piece to the bands sonic palette and shows that even without the ear battering heaviness they are renowned for, they can still get under your skin and in your head.
Samsara is a far more accomplished and technically proficient album than Animus filled with deadly efficiency and well balanced technicality. Venom Prison are a special band that and one that acts as the socially aware conscience of the death metal world. They are providing spine ripping soul crushing songs fronted by a vocalist who is not only capable of bursting your eardrums with her throat shredding screams, but who will also open your minds and eyes with some of the most powerful and unflinching lyrics about the harsh realities facing the world today.
This album proves without a shadow of a doubt that there is no band around right now that sounds like Venom Prison and on this form I don’t think there is a single band around right now that can compete on their level.
Samara is released on the 15th of March through Prosthetic Records.