JEFF 'MANTAS' DUNN Says VENOM Was Absolutely The First-Ever 'Black Metal' Band

October 3, 2022

At this year's Bloodstock Open Air festival at Catton Park, Walton-on-Trent, United Kingdom, former VENOM and current VENOM INC. guitarist Jeff "Mantas" Dunn spoke to Bloodstock TV's Oran O'Beirne about the 40th anniversary of VENOM's classic "Black Metal" album. Regarding VENOM's early musical and visual approach, he said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "We always said, if you put BLACK SABBATH, JUDAS PRIEST, MOTÖRHEAD 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. Because that's what we wanted — we wanted more leather than PRIEST, more pyros than KISS, dirtier and faster than MOTÖRHEAD, 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."

He continued: "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 this that was going on."

Released in 1982, "Black Metal" is considered a major influence on thrash metal and extreme metal in general. VENOM's second album proved influential enough that its title was used as the name of the extreme metal subgenre of black metal. The band classic lineup trio of Dunn, vocalist/bassist Conrad "Cronos" Lant and drummer Anthony "Abaddon" Bray recorded two further studio LPs, "At War With Satan" (1984) and "Possessed" (1985),and live album, "Eine Kleine Nachtmusik" (1986). Often cited by bands such as METALLICA, BEHEMOTH, CELTIC FROST and MAYHEM as major influences, they are one of the most revered bands of their generation. VENOM is still fronted by Cronos and headlines festivals all over the globe and continues to release new music while Dunn and former VENOM bassist/vocalist Tony "Demolition Man" Dolan have joined forces in the similarly named VENOM INC.

Dunn, Bray and Dolan released three albums as VENOM between 1989 and 1992 — "Prime Evil" (1989),"Temples Of Ice" (1991) and "The Waste Lands" (1992).

VENOM INC. is not to be confused with the aforementioned Cronos-fronted version of VENOM, which is continuing to tour and make albums under the VENOM moniker. Joining Cronos in that group are Rage (a.k.a. Stuart Dixon) on guitar and Danté (a.k.a. Danny Needham) on drums.

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