Artist / Band / Musician
Black Metal
A seminal influence on the evolution of thrash and black metal, Venom formed during the late '70s in Newcastle, England. Originally a five-piece group called Oberon, they eventually trimmed their lineup to a trio comprising singer/bassist Conrad "Cronos" Lant, guitarist Jeff "Mantas" Dunn, and drummer Tony "Abaddon" Bray. Influenced by the heavy intensity of Mot�rhead and the visual flash of Kiss, the newly renamed Venom developed a dark, blistering sound which paved the way for the subsequent rise of thrash music; similarly, their macabre, proudly satanic image proved a major inspiration for the legions of black metal bands to appear in their wake, even lending the genre its name with the release of their 1982 sophomore LP, Black Metal. (Their debut, Welcome to Hell, preceded it by a year.)

After various lineup changes and a time where Cronos also left the band, in 1996 Cronos returned to the Venom fold. The original lineup's return to action was heralded by the release of the mini-album Venom '96, followed in 1997 by the full-length Made in Stone. After a world tour, Venom issued the two-disc New, Live & Rare in mid-1998. Buried Alive appeared a year later, and in the spring of 2000 the group returned with The Court of Death and Beauty and the Beast. In 2006 they celebrated their 25th anniversary with Metal Black, followed two years later by Hell. [Jason Ankeny]
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