September 20th saw the return of Venom Inc. to San Diego’s Brick By Brick concert venue. This was Venom Inc.’s third visit to the venue with arguably their best package yet. Acting as tour support were Goatwhore, Toxic Holocaust, and The Convalescence, with local support coming from Autumn’s End (AZ) and Mythraeum (SD); the latter two I unfortunately missed.

The Convalescence were a bit of a head-scratcher to say the least. Something about their drop-tuned breakdowns and over-processed synth effects didn’t seem to go over well with the old-school booze hounds waiting to hear “Countess Bathory.” I can understand the desire for a young band to play in front of diverse crowds in an effort to grow a comprehensive fan base, however the dolled-up deathcore ensemble didn’t make the grade on this bill. Considering The Convalescence has already toured with the likes of Whitechapel and Mushroomhead, the band is likely to be more well-received on those sorts of packages.

Fortunately, Toxic Holocaust wasted no time getting the evening back on track. Opening with the breakneck anthems “War Is Hell” and “Wild Dogs,” the toxic trio immediately jerked the crowd to rabid life. Cups, cans, hair, and arms were all discordantly thrown around amidst the headbanging riffs and thrash-punk drums. Staples like “Lord of the Wasteland” and “Gravelord” were met with thunderous applause and aggressive moshing. Hopefully this tour sparks some headlining dates from T.H. in our neck of the woods.

Subsequently, Goatwhore swiftly picked up the noise and fury that Toxic Holocaust had laid down. Frontman Ben Falgoust towered over the crowd, spewing forth blasphemous gutturals and working the stage like a pro. Songs from the band’s latest release, “Vengeful Ascension,” were a fresh addition to Goatwhore’s set; however it was anthems like “Apocalyptic Havoc” and “When Steel and Bone Meet” that truly got the audience stomping and screaming. You know what you’re getting with a Goatwhore set, and the sacrilegious quartet once again bestowed brutality.

Headliners Venom Inc. opened with “Ave Satanas,” the first track from their new album. The band was fronted by bassist/vocalist Demolition Man, guitarist Mantas, and drummer Abaddon. I initially had mixed feelings about Venom Inc. writing new music since their work from the 80s speaks for itself. Nevertheless, the new tracks provided a grandiosely evil vibe that the trio is all too proficient at exuding.

Ultimately, Venom Inc. had no issues cementing their slot as headliners and as metal royalty. Dialed-in sound and a vigorous stage presence made songs like “Don’t Burn the Witch” and “Poison” come alive with menacing ferocity. In an age where so many defunct bands are “reuniting” with shoddy results, Venom Inc. remain a monolith of might and integrity.


*Photo credit to Karila @ Metal Life Magazine*