MANTAS Fires Back At CRONOS: 'If You Wanna See A Subpar Performance, Watch Videos Of Your Own Band'

December 25, 2022

Original VENOM guitarist Jeff "Mantas" Dunn has blasted the band's frontman Conrad "Cronos" Lant over disparaging comments the bassist/vocalist made in a recent interview.

Earlier this month, Lant told Metal Hammer magazine that the chances of a reunion of the band's classic lineup — also featuring Dunn and drummer Anthony "Abaddon" Bray — are "less than zero. I owe them nothing, and they've got nothing I want," he added. "We still get fans saying, 'The VENOM legions want the old lineup back together.' We tried in the '90s and it wasn't well received. The last thing I want to do is get onstage with those other two doddery old fuckers and put on a subpar performance. I'm getting better album sales now, so why the fuck would I want to go back to that? I just want VENOM to be great."

Asked if he feels sad that there's no relationship between the three of them now, Cronos said: "Yeah, of course it's sad. But we had a blast, and I'll cherish those memories."

Dunn, who currently plays in VENOM INC. alongside another former VENOM member, bassist/vocalist Tony Dolan, addressed Lant's comments in a brand new interview with Heavy Culture. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "Cronos has just done an interview with Metal Hammer, which there's stuff in that interview where I looked at it and I just went, 'What the fucking hell planet did that happen on?' He's talking about the [VENOM] reunion that we did for Dynamo [in 1996]. He was saying, like, 'Oh, I called the guy…' No, he did not call fucking anybody; he didn't call anybody at all. It was Eric Cook, our manager, who's now sadly since departed us, but it was Eric Cook and Tony Bray, Abaddon, who put that fucking reunion period together. It wasn't fucking Cronos who put that reunion period together."

He continued: "I remember turning up to a bar in Newcastle called Trillians and we had agreed to have a meeting there. And Cronos was the first one in the bar. I walked in and there was a sort of tentative handshake and a 'hello.' And I remember saying to Cronos, 'I've only come here to say no. I'm not doing this.' And that was before the Dynamo thing. It took so many talks to get us together for the Dynamo. We did the Waldrock festival first. And he turns around and says, 'Oh, it wasn't very well received.' He was the one that was saying, 'I'll do it.' 'No, I'm not doing it.' 'I'll do it.' There was one day we had a meeting, and Abaddon actually stood up in the office, in the VENOM office, and said, 'Right, Conrad, fuck off. It's all off. Forget it.' Conrad picked up his bag. He walked out of the office. He walked past me and said, 'Adios, amigo,' and he walked out. I went home and I spoke to my wife and I said, 'Well, that's it. That's all fucked.' About an hour later, I received a phone call from Eric saying, 'It's back on. He's gonna do it.' So don't go to the press saying it was your idea in the first place."

Regarding the fact that VENOM INC. commemorated the 40th anniversary of VENOM's classic second album, "Black Metal", by performing it in its entirety on October 2 at the Keep It True festival at Posthalle in Würzburg, Germany, Dunn said: "VENOM INC. are the people who have been asked to do the anniversary shows. And we've done it. Because you know why? Because this fucking shit show of three originals can't get their fucking act together to get together on a stage and give the fans that. And [Cronos is] turning around now and saying, 'Oh, I'm not getting on stage with those doddery old fuckers to give a subpar performance.' I'll tell you what: watch the videos of your own band if you wanna see a subpar performance. This pisses me off to the hilt.

"I put a call out to everybody who's been a member of this band — not just the originals," Mantas continued. "And even me and Tony Dolan had a conversation about this, and we said that to celebrate VENOM, there should be a concert where everybody who's been a member — Mikey Hickey, Jim Clare, fucking Abaddon, Cronos, Mantas, Tony Dolan, Al Barnes, fucking Danté, Stu — whatever his fucking name is — they should all be on one stage together playing their era of VENOM, and at the end of the night, the original lineup plays some of the classic songs just for the fans. I put that out. Who contacted me? Fucking nobody. Because none of them have got the balls to do it. And that's the fucking truth."

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, Lant and 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 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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