Original VENOM members Jeff "Mantas" Dunn (guitar) and Anthony "Abaddon" Bray (drums) have rejoined forces with ex-VENOM bassist/vocalist Tony "Demolition Man" Dolan in a brand new band called VENOM INC.
VENOM INC. will make its live debut at this weekend's Keep It True festival in Lauda-Königshofen, Germany, and will continue with shows in China, Japan and Taiwan in July, followed by a full European tour with Polish death metallers VADER in September.
VENOM INC. will play a full set of VENOM classics, with plans to record a brand new album in the coming months.
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).
Dolan and Dunn have spent the last few years collaborating in a new band called M-PIRE OF EVIL, which released its full-length debut, "Hell To The Holy", in March 2012 via Scarlet Records. A follow-up effort, "Crucified", came out in May 2013 via Deadline Music (a subsidiary of Cleopatra Records).
In a March 2015 interview with PowerOfMetal.dk, Dunn revealed that he was writing a book about his life, focusing heavily on VENOM's early years. "I've been asked for a long time to write a book, but I've always avoided it," he said. "But a couple of years ago, I was in Japan and I was speaking to some people who told me I should really write a book to, you know, tell the truth about what happened. What's being said in the press today and what I read on the Internet is complete horseshit."
He continued: "I'm talking to an Italian publisher and there a couple of other publishers who are interested [in releasing the book]. I don't yet know whether it's going to be released by one publisher or whether it's going to be licensed in different countries. Currently I'm roughly halfway through writing the book.
"For me, it's more complicated than putting an album together, because, besides writing it, you've got to check dates and lots of other stuff. There's so much writing involved, one thing leads to another, and your memory gets jogged about certain incidents.
"You know, there's a lot to go into there, and it doesn't just concentrate on the VENOM thing. I'm taking it from Day One, from when I was born, and all the way through my early childhood, influences… It's basically my life story, with the VENOM thing in it as well. It's from the beginning to where we are today."
In an April 2014 statement on his Facebook page, Dunn shot down the possibility of a reunion of VENOM's classic lineup, featuring Conrad "Cronos" Lant on bass/vocals. He explained: "I received a call almost one year ago regarding this matter from the original management who had an enquiry regarding the possibility of a reunion of the original lineup. My response to this was that I was willing to talk, but I did not believe for one minute that there would be any realistic chance of this happening given the past history between the members, I was, however, open to discussion and would await further information.
"In 2005, I had a lengthy telephone conversation with Conrad ['Cronos' Lant; VENOM bassist/vocalist] initially regarding the return of a product licence. It was during this conversation that he asked if I was OK with him continuing as VENOM. I said yes and wished him well with it. At this point in my life, VENOM was of no concern to me as my mother had suffered a serious stroke, and later in that year, after a long battle, she passed away, so my focus had obviously been on her.
"As you are all aware, Conrad has since been actively gigging and recording as VENOM, and as you know, I am continually busy with M-PIRE OF EVIL.
"As time went by and rumours and discussions of a reunion increased, but without any input from Conrad or myself, it became obvious to me that the two people who had to communicate in some way were the two of us, as we both have active and ongoing careers, so I made the decision to contact him to get an answer which would basically come down to a simple 'yes or no.' In my heart of hearts, I already knew and was prepared for the answer, and quite honestly I also had my reservations about the validity and practicality of such a venture.
"As you may have already guessed, the answer came back as 'no,' so I can hereby officially say that there will be no reunion of the original lineup.
"I will include only one line from Conrad's response as these were personal and private communications between him and myself. In his response he stated: 'I've personally got no interest whatsoever in trying to work with the original lineup ever again.'
"This was something that I fully expected and understand."
The classic lineup of VENOM — Lant, Dunn and Bray — is often credited with kickstarting the whole black metal movement, but is more accurately seen an early example of extreme metal.
VENOM's second album, 1982's "Black Metal", was a major influence on on the early Norwegian black metal scene.