In a recent interview with Jason Saulnier, former VENOM and current VENOM INC. guitarist Jeff "Mantas" Dunn discussed VENOM's 1984 "At War With Satan" studio album and its follow-up, "Possessed", which was the last offering to feature the band's classic lineup of Dunn, vocalist/bassist Conrad "Cronos" Lant and drummer Anthony "Abaddon" Bray before Dunn's departure in 1986. After enduring a slew of additional lineup changes and less-than-well-received albums, the classic VENOM lineup reunited in 1995, only to dissolve once again a few years later.
When asked whether he had ever performed the "At War With Satan" track live, the near-20-minute epic that opens the album bearing its name, Dunn said: "It was never ever played live. Never played live, and I can't even remember the last time I listened to that album. I've been on record many times and have said I'm not a huge fan of that album. It's not one of my favorite VENOM albums that we ever did, nor is 'Possessed', but that's just a point of view of me being too close to it. I think 'At War With Satan' is a good album but I don't think it's a great album. I don't think it's as good as 'Black Metal' or 'Welcome To Hell'. People always said to me about the chronological order of my favorite albums, it would be 'Welcome To Hell', 'Black Metal', 'Prime Evil', 'Resurrection' and now [VENOM INC.'s] 'Avé'. Those five albums, I think, probably these are the albums I'm most proud of."
He continued: "All the rest of the stuff, I'm not going to diss it, but I know people, I've spoken to fans who say 'At War With Satan' is their favorite VENOM album ever. Hey, that's cool because music affects different people in different ways. I've had people who said 'Possessed' is their favorite. For me, 'Possessed' is the most stressful thing I ever did because that was at the point when the band was falling apart. I was, 'This is it. I'm out of here.' I even spoke to Abaddon at one point during the recording where he came over to me and says, 'Are you okay?' I said, 'Absolutely not! I'm giving it six months and I'm out of here.' When, in reality, I stayed longer. But I've got no good memories of that album at all. It doesn't mean anything to me. Again, on one of the American tours that we did, I think it was in Seattle. We came out of the backstage area and there was a guy standing there and he approached us and he says, 'I've only got one album. I'm not going to bother you guys. I just want you to sign my favorite VENOM album.' And his favorite VENOM album of all time was 'The Waste Lands'. He was a huge VENOM fan, but his favorite album was 'The Waste Lands'. I think it just shows this band across the board has got a pretty good catalog of songs. Everybody's got a different favorite."
VENOM INC. currently features former VENOM bassist/vocalist Tony "Demolition Man" Dolan and Dunn. Last year, VENOM INC. recruited Jeramie Kling of the Tampa-based melodic death metal band THE ABSENCE to fill in for Bray while Abaddon stayed home to spend time with his newborn daughter. VENOM INC. has since completed several tours with Kling without making any official announcements about Bray's possible return to the group.
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).
VENOM INC. is not to be confused with Cronos-fronted version of VENOM, which is continuing to tour and make albums under the VENOM moniker. Joining Cronos in that group are Rage (a.k.a. Stuart Dixon) on guitar and Danté (a.k.a. Danny Needham) on drums.