Bloodstock TV's Oran O'Beirne definitely caught a bunch of hot takes this summer at Bloodstock Open Air, but the chat O'Beirne had with former Venom and current Venom Inc. guitarist Mantas makes an interesting case for Venom as the originators of black metal. Mantas was speaking about the 40th anniversary of Venom's landmark LP Black Metal, which was released in 1982 on the heels of their debut, Welcome to Hell. You can watch the interview below, which also featured former Venom and current Venom Inc. bassist Demolition Man.
"We always said, if you put Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Motorhead and Kiss, you put them all into a big pot and you stir it all up and then pour it out on the table, it's gonna spell Venom," Mantas declared. "Because that's what we wanted — we wanted more leather than Priest, more pyros than Kiss, dirtier and faster than Motorhead, more satanic than Black Sabbath. And that's what happened with us — the bands that followed us looked at us and went, 'Right. We can shove more pentagrams out there. We can be more evil than that.' So black metal is still around 40 years to this day… Now, they have evolved. Without evolution comes extinction."
Mantas followed up by saying, "People say, 'Were Venom the first black metal band?' Fuck yes! Sorry. We have an album called Black Metal, we have a fucking song called 'Black Metal,' and we created a genre. And that happened just by us saying, 'We're black metal.' That was it. It was a statement to individualize [Venom from everyone else]… We wanted to be alienated from all of [what] was going on."
Of course, black metal as we know it today is very much rooted in the Norwegian scene of the 90s. But Venom, just by nature of their greatness, practically influenced all metal. So, Dunn makes an interesting point. I also like his take that without evolution comes extinction, because honestly, nothing ever begins as it ends. Black Sabbath couldn't have realistically known they were creating heavy metal when they started out. And Motörhead—as per Lemmy—only ever aspired to be a rock n' roll band, plain and simple. So, genres can actually be pretty relative, when you think about it. One thing we don't need to think on, however, is how much ass Venom kicks, that is for sure!