The 100 Greatest Metal Albums of All Time

The most headbangable records ever, from Metallica's Black Album to Black Sabbath's 'Paranoid'

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Venom, 'Welcome to Hell' (1981)

74. Venom, 'Welcome to Hell' (1981)

Forget about British punk; true musical anarchy arrived in the U.K. with the emergence of Welcome to Hell, a debauched celebration of Devil worship, drinking and wanton women by Newcastle trio Venom. Outpacing and out-trashing even the mighty Motörhead, the sweaty, shirtless trio of Conrad "Cronos" Lant, Jeffrey "Mantas" Dunn and Tony "Abaddon" Bray saturated every instant of this classic collection with filth, senseless bombast and undying charisma. Hits from hell like the title track, "Schizo" and the wildman anthem "Live Like an Angel (Die Like a Devil)" all seem to double in tempo before collapsing in a cacophony of string abuse, cymbal bashing and howls. The effect is beautiful. Worldwide, Venom remain a classic band on par with the Ramones or Motörhead, and that status owes much to Welcome to Hell, an album duly credited as a key forerunner of black metal and death metal – fringe subgenres that have since become their own musical universes. "We are a brick," the "rabid captor of bestial malevolence," vocalist and bass abuser Cronos told an interviewer in 1985. "You take the brick and throw it and it goes bang. That's how Venom works." I.C.

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