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Review

Venom Prison – Samsara Review

Band: Venom Prison
Album: Samsara
Label: Prosthetic Records
Genre: Death Metal
Country: United Kingdom
Release Date: March 15th, 2019

Hailing from South Wales in the UK comes death metal powerhouse, Venom PrisonSamsara will be their second album following their debut album, Animus, and EP The Primal ChaosSamsara is much more refined, dynamic, and genuinely pissed off compared to their previous works (and that’s not to say they’re not pissed off on previous works). Venom Prison is here to make a statement with their music, musically and lyrically.  This is a beyond brutal death metal album but at its core, it’s an open letter from the band that’s righteously angry about many of the societal issues that should we should not be experiencing at all in this day in age.

The term Samsara comes from the cycle of death and rebirth, or as portrayed in this record, the perpetual cycle of suffering.  There are many different social and personal issues that are being addressed that includes self-harm, homophobia, forced surrogacy, rape culture, capital punishment, the harsh reality of motherhood, and much more; I am only scratching the surface here.  Throughout this record you’ll find nothing but purely insane performances from each of the band members.  At first, the record was difficult to digest as there are so many musical ideas and things going on at once but as I became more familiar with the songs, I realized that this frantic and chaotic nature found on Samsara was the very goal of the band from the start.  This album is the perfect definition of controlled chaos and complete aural assault.

This record has a production style similar to Bring Me the Horizon’s Count Your Blessings.  It has that 2006-feel to it, yet it still feels very fresh at the same time.  Although Count Your Blessings has that nostalgia factor behind it being BMTH’s debut album, resulting in it being so popular, Samsara is easily miles above that record.  There are many different influences and styles that are blended into this ferocious amalgam.  You get hints of blackened hardcore, grindcore, beatdown, and hardcore punk mixed in very tastefully with the overarching death metal style.  From the very moment the title track Matriphagy opens up, you already know that the whole album is going to knock your socks off.  Buckle up, as Samsara is a bloody massacre on all fronts. 

The instrumentation on this record is off the charts.  There is everything from thick chugging to blast beats to incredibly melodic leads, blistering solos, jaw dropping breakdowns, and ridiculous dive bombs reminiscent of Dimebag Darrellof Pantera.  Venom Prison have most certainly displayed their instrumental proficiency and musicianship with this performance, that is for damn sure.  There is a surprise in every song; a wild guitar solo will appear out of nowhere while the momentum of the song is still going strong, vocals and brutality and everything.  The guitar solos are often more background than the focal point and it’s a very interesting dynamic to have these crazy melodic passages layered with the unrelenting fury of the rest of the band.  I don’t want to say too much else about the songs specifically, you need to hear them for yourself to truly understand as no combination of words can justify how mind boggling this cacophony of a record is.

Vocalist Larissa Stupar is living, breathing proof to all the ‘metal’ male chauvinists out there that women can do anything and everything as good as or even better than men can.  It is still beyond surprising that today women in metal (and sadly also in everyday life) are still objectified and treated as if they are inferior just because of their gender or viewed/used as sexual objects.  It is very clear that Larissa is absolutely fed up with that same old song and dance and delivers one of the most brutal and wrathful vocal performances I have ever heard in order to advertise how livid she is.  I admire her ability to wear her indignation regarding what’s still wrong with the world on her sleeve.

Not a single second is wasted on Samsara.  This record is filled to the brim with many passages of technical prowess and straight-up raw violence.  The instrumental track, Deva’s Enemy, is essential to this album as it gives the listener a much-needed breather after the curving fastballs that come before and after it.  On top of the non-stop controlled chaos, the raw and unfiltered emotion is what makes this album so impactful and memorable.  There are a few moments that just sound slightly off, as in the pause right before the breakdown in Uterine Industrialization or the really sudden ending to Sadistic Rituals after the extremely brief fade back in the very last second of the song.  Overall the record itself can be quite exhausting on the first couple of playthroughs; there is just so much going on in each song at all times that it takes some getting used to. It did take more time than usual to be able to become familiar with certain songs as most of these songs sound very similar to one another, as there seemed to be little variety in overall song structure. Other than that, I am highly impressed with how well put together this leviathan of an album is.

This is without a doubt, the angriest and most outright pissed off album you’ll hear this year.  You can just tell this album is going to be something special from the album artwork alone.Venom Prison are not afraid to stand up for what they believe in and I truly admire that about them.  Samsara is the middle finger to everything that is wrong with society; it’s the scripture of what is wrong with our world today.  We as listeners need to understand, learn, and take action in order to make changes for the better in our world.

Rating: 8/10

Tracklist:

  1. Matriphagy
  2. Megillus & Leaena
  3. Uterine Industrialization
  4. Self Inflicted Violence
  5. Deva’s Enemy
  6. Asura’s Realm
  7. Sadistic Rituals
  8. Implementing The Metaphysics of Morals
  9. Dukkha
  10. Naraka

Total Playing Time: 41:54

Click here to visit Venom Prison’s bandcamp

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