“The new face of death metal” – Metal Hammer
VENOM PRISON has returned with a blistering second album titled Samsara. Named after the Buddhist concept of being reborn into a never-ending cycle of suffering, the rising death metal outfit have laid their cards out on the table from the word go. Musically, the album is as abrasive as we have come to expect from this UK based five-piece; as frenetic as the debut but delivered with a power up of confidence in their delivery.
“Samsara is more aggressive yet un-ashamed of dynamics. It recognises, that to in order to feel impact you must have suspense,” comments guitarist, Ash Gray. “To feel the hate and aggression behind low-ended discord you must feel the relief of layered melodic swells,” adds in fellow guitarist, Ben Thomas. With this approach, Samsara is a contrasting and confrontational offer that does not hold back.
Gray and Thomas wrote obsessively as the band continued to tour off the back of the debut release, Animus. They continued to fine-tune before the band entered the studio with producer Tom Dring in summer 2018. Viewing their debut as the foundation to springboard their sound to a new level, Dring and the band worked closely with prestigious producer Arthur Rizk (Code Orange, Power Trip, Inquisition) to maximise the potential of the tracks. “Every time I sat down to work on this record I kept discovering another layer and felt compelled to experiment further,” remarks Rizk.
“Lyrically, Samsara is a more personal offering as a vocalist. I wanted to talk about my own experiences of suffering and rebirth,” remarks Larissa Stupar. Her caustic delivery is laced with themes of femininity as she navigates her way around sacrifice, self-destruction and sadistic rituals. Interlinked with self-analysis and discovery. “I want to sing about things that matter to me,” adds Stupar. “It is a political thread of fury that delivers a lashing in the direction of human trafficking, forced surrogacy, capital punishment and the dismal trail of destruction left by societal architects and rulers”. Stupar demonstrates that honesty and vulnerability is equal to valiance with subject matter as well as her relentless vocal range.
VENOM PRISON first pummelled the jugular of the underground with a self-released demo Defy the Tyrant in 2015. They continued to rip through the touring circuits of the UK and Mainland Europe following up with The Primal Chaos EP. Once a steady and full line-up was established with the addition of bassist Mike Jefferies, the band then went on to release their debut full length Animus on Prosthetic Records. This propelled the band into the spotlight earning them the prestigious Metal Hammer Golden Gods award for best new band in 2017. With this recognition they continued their assault on the UK, Mainland Europe, North America and Canada with their energetic and passionate performances alongside many respected bands such as Trivium, Code Orange, Aborted, Power Trip. With new drummer Joe Bills joining the ranks from early 2019 the live audio violence looks set to continue unabated.
VENOM PRISON is not here to sugar coat things; experiencing their own rebirth by way of this album has brought about its own misery-tinged kind of zeal. What you might mistake for the light at the end of the tunnel is just as likely to be their view of watching the world burn.