on 8 August 2003
Venom almost defy description. A cornerstone of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, but also considered to be a first-generation black metal band, this trio of rowdy Geordies exploded on to the music scene in the early 1980s -- and the word 'exploded' is used advisedly, bearing in mind their love of extravagant pyrotechnics at their stage shows, which they insisted on headlining.
Revered by the 80s rock touchstone Sounds, worshipped across southern Europe (Hellenic fans being especially devoted, I've always found), Venom's technical abilities were stretched to their very limits with each successive release, but this endeared them to their audience as every proto-headbanger imagined themselves playing along to Mantas' screeching guitar lines. High energy, low pretence, classic heavy metal. When the early Motorhead-esque 'Sons of Satan' erupts from your speakers, the mayhem Venom created is evident from the very start and will continue to rattle your cranium until the end of the album, believe me. I'll refrain from calling this album a 'timeless work of genius', but I certainly won't refrain from exhorting you to buy it forthwith!
Finally: this is a wonderful package, as befits an album with one of the coolest album covers of all time. Excellent liner notes with lots of contemporary press clippings (it's quite a chunky booklet), a generous collection of previously hard to find demos, outtakes and bonus tracks, and an attractive spine which forms the first part of the Venom logo. I can't understand the current vogue for wrapping reissues in a cardboard sleeve, however; if you're like me, this goes straight in the bin. Who wants to take this off every time you play the CD?
You could do a lot worse than order their second and third albums at the same time ('Black Metal', 'At War With Satan') and die-hards may want #4, 'Possessed', too but be warned -- the Venom war machine veered violently off the rails after this.
on 15 March 2002
I bought this album and "Black Metal" from Amazon for a few reasons: 1) I'd bought a lot of metal recently and Venom were recommended by Amazon's automatic system; 2) I was craving yet more things to listen to; 3) The CDs were cheap.
My first reaction was: "How could I have been so unaware of this band?" I had never before heard of Venom and I bought the CDs not knowing what to expect. "Welcome to Hell" is wonderful. The CD is as full as it can get with tracks, although I do think that the extra bonus tracks are mostly unnecessary. My favourite tracks so far are "Welcome to Hell", "Live Like an Angel" and "Sons of Satan". Wonderful, fast, frantic, crunching music. Not really as evil-sounding as the song titles suggest, but they have everything that a metal fan could need.
The one thing which astounds me about Venom is that their first album (this one) was released in 1981!! This album has been around for over 20 years and I didn't know about it... at least now I can appreciate what I've been missing. The second album "Black Metal" is, in my opinion, not as good as this first offering because it seems somehow a little slowed/toned down. Once I manage to stop listening to this album, I'll write a review for the other one, too.
on 13 August 2015
I think the album works better when you see it for the 11 track album it was back in 1981, the extras are fine and well but I don't care to listen to them that often but its a generous bonus nonetheless.
This was the bands debut and as much as they went on to have an influence on black metal I would say this is more thrashy and speedy in its dynamics. the themes of course and the song titles such as 'sons of satan' and 'in league with satan' paint the themes though. The music is raw yet catchy enough, production wise and even on this remaster is still a bit low in the mix but I can appreciate that. There isn't really a bad song here, perhaps not a world of variety but again I can take that and haven't really moaned about it before so why start now. If metal is your thing and if your eyes are reading this then chances are it is then you need this, I will go on record saying not every venom album is worth your hard earned euro but this certainly is. A great start , a great start.
on 21 January 2007
After sampling 'In Legue with Satan' off the great lightnin' to the nations compliaton CD I imediatly bout the first 3 Venom albums and I have to say their debut is the best of the 3 and an absolute classic slab of metal!
Now everyone says Venom are notorious for bad production and they are right, but I have a feeling it was semi-diliberate to try and achieve the heaviest sound they could muster and it pays off, this is a brutal album and must of sounded like pure noise back in 1981(!).
The album opens up on a surprisingly weak song 'Sons of Satan' but dont let that put you off, the title track is a stonecold classic, so much that Iron Maiden completly ripped off the main riff for one of their best songs '2 minutes to midnight', compare it, theres only one note different!
The whole album is chock full of classics, 'Poison' is a tale of sleeping with a hooker riddled with STD's, and the more satanic offerings such as 'Live Like an Angel', the absolute classic 'Witching hour' and the dark shoutout anthem 'In Legue With Satan' are all some of my favorate songs on the album.
The bonus tracks are all extremely invaluable, these hard to find singles and demos are some of Venom's best work such as their first single 'Angel Dust' and various versions of album songs. A particular non-album cut worth mentioning is 'In Nomine Satanas' (which happens to be my favourate song on the album) which is clearly proto-Slayer, that riff is a killer and when you check out some of Slayer's work you can clearly tell they were influenced by Venom.
All in all a classic essential peice of heavy metal history.
on 13 September 2012
Very important album that any metal fan should own, i love the band, the dirty sound like Motorhead, great riffs, good solos, eargasm to the ears.
on 25 March 2011
welcome to hell is a pukka album and is venom's first, i cant believe that it took 17 years before i first became aware of venom, but im glad i did.
Now venom is notorious for their bad production as you wil clearly hear on this allbum once you buy it, but to be honest with you that is what makes venom special i suppose. because for me i would rather listne to a roughly produced album like Welcome to hell than a clean sounding album like metallica's death magnetic because it just sounds more rough n ready.
DEFINETLY buy this album.