British black metal pioneers VENOM have parted ways with guitarist Mykvs (a.k.a. Mike Hickey; ex-CARCASS, CATHEDRAL). "Personal unavoidable commitments in the U.S. have forced Mykvs to announce that he cannot commit 100% to VENOM's 2007 schedule," the band writes in a statement. A new guitarist by the name of Rage has already been drafted in to replace Mykvs and is currently working in the studio with the rest of the group on demos for their next album.
Commented drummer Antony "Antton" Lant (brother of VENOM frontman Conrad "Cronos" Lant): "[Rage] is a proper metalhead. It's great hearing the way he incorporates dive bombs into the riffs; it really reminds me of a certain former original member. He is quite an enigma."
Check out photos of the new VENOM lineup at this location.
As previously reported, Sanctuary Records will re-release VENOM's 2000 album, "Resurrection", later in the year. The CD, which was originally issued in 2000 on the Steamhammer label, was the first VENOM album to feature Antton on the drums. An exact release date has not yet been announced.
With regards to the direction of the band's next album, VENOM frontman Cronos previously said, "VENOM will be even darker and heavier for the next release. The new song ideas that Antton and I have been composing over the last year will be exactly what the 'legions' expect from us, and will really test the abilities of the band members. There's going to be a lot of blood spilled making the next album. This band belongs to the fans and I'm going to stay true to the spirit of VENOM no matter what sacrifices have to be made."
Talks are already underway to discuss VENOM's live appearances for 2007. The band's management and its booking agency are keen to book VENOM to play some of the other territories the group has still yet to destroy.
"Playing in Sweden [last] year was incredible," said Cronos. "It just seems mad that it took VENOM so long to get there. Now we want to look at all the other places where we've never been, like Spain for example." Cronos is also developing new ideas with the German pyro company who featured at a couple of their festival shows this year, and they promise some great surprises for this year's live shows.
VENOM last September cancelled its appearance at the Thrash Domination Fest 2006 in Kanagawa, Japan after "Cronos was "taken ill" and was ordered by his doctor to rest.
VENOM's latest CD, "Metal Black", was released in North America in April 2006 via Sanctuary Records. The CD was mixed at the Townhouse Studios in London and contains 14 new songs.