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Venom

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Newcastle upon Tyne, Newcastle, United Kingdom (1979 – present)

Venom is a metal band formed in Newcastle upon Tyne, UK in 1979.

Coming to prominence towards the end of the ‘New Wave of British Heavy Metal’, Venom’s first two albums – Welcome to Hell (1981) and Black Metal (1982) – are 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 an extreme metal subgenre: black metal.

Venom’s original personnel came from three different bands: Guillotine, Oberon and DwarfStar. The original Guillotine featured Jeffrey Dunn and Dave Rutherford on guitars, Dean Hewitt on bass guitar, Dave Blackman on vocals and Chris Mercaters on drums. Blackman and Mercater were replaced by drummer Anthony Bray and vocalist Clive Archer of Oberon and soon after, Dean Hewitt was replaced by Alan Winston on bass. Around the summer of 1979, Conrad “Cronos” Lant from the bands DwarfStar and Album Graecum replaced Rutherford. Around this time, the band adopted the Venom moniker.

Prime influences of the formative band were Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Motörhead and Kiss. Other bands cited by Venom as an inspiration are Queen, The Who, Deep Purple, Sex Pistols, Van Halen, The Tubes and The Rolling Stones.

A few days before a show at a local church hall, Winston left the band. To fill in, Lant borrowed a bass guitar from Steve Thompson (later to become Venom’s first producer). Playing the show with the borrowed bass plugged into his Marshall guitar amp and effects pedals, he created an unnerving racket and the ‘Bulldozer Bass’ was born.

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