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VENOM
VENOM
MMV
(Castle Music / Sanctuary)
272:55min

I came across the existence of this boxset when I was trying to find out whether or not VENOM's 'Senile Decay' was ever issued on a CD... I mean, there's so many compilations of these guys around that I was sure some would finally have it, be it an official or bootleg one. But it seems I was wrong... well almost, cause this release here finally has it! "MMV" already came out back in 2005, probably to celebrate VENOM's 25th anniversary (which the title seems to stand for) and the sticker on it announces "The ultimate VENOM collection"... Well, how often did we read about "ultimate" compilations in the past already while none of 'em ever came any close to that description? So, apart from the impressive packaging (more about that in a minute) I was very sceptical again and had serious doubts it would be justified here in any way. But I was so wrong!!!! This is probably the only VENOM compilation that should satisfy every fan of the band, especially those of the early days (and I bet most of you worship particularely this period anyway!). What you get here is 70 tracks (!!!) in total, all remastered by Cronos himself, including tons of live versions, demos, outtakes, re-recorded or remixed material, from 1980 (the very first demo!) up to 1997 (just a handful), with a focus on the classic period ("Welcome To Hell" up to "Possessed"). The discs come in a very stylish black boxset that also includes a replica of the legendary 1984 "Seven Dates Of Hell" tourposter (when METALLICA were still supporting!) plus a 60 pages fat awesome booklet that has got tons of pictures, old magazine articles and reviews (mostly from Kerrang!), flyers, setlists, an incredibly detailed discography and an introduction written by Cronos himself! 3 out of the 4 CDs are visually dedicated to one of the members, which means each one has got a very cool full colour drawing of Cronos, Mantas and Abaddon on the cover and various pics of the member in question inside, while the cover of disc 4 comes up with a slightly changed "Warhead" EP sleeve artwork. This disc (# 4) is musically dedicated to the (in)famous "Assault" series and therefore features various tracks off "German Assault", "French Assault", "Scandinavian Assault", "Canadian Assault" and "American Assault". If I'm not completely wrong here, they haven't been issued officially on CD before either! So, even if you already own the great re-issues of "Welcome To Hell", "Black Metal" and "At War With Satan" (with all the single stuff as bonus tracks) and the rather cool "Skeletons In The Closet" compilation (several tracks off that appear on here as well), every VENOM die hard maniac definitely needs "MMV as well, for it is THE ULTIMATE VENOM COLLECTION for sure! Killer!!!

Frank Stöver

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