Listening to Venom Prison’s newest album Samsara feels somewhat like getting burned alive, at least inside your mind, even if little manifests physically. The band deliver brutal, punishing metal that feels more suited to an apocalypse than a casual listening scenario. The thing is, while some run around like beheaded chickens worrying about what cosmic apocalypse will emerge in the future, real people right now keep running full-force into potentially life-ending walls and are getting left bruised and bloody.

Venom Prison confront these walls, crafting music that throws the listener over them whether they’re ready or not and whether they know what’s on the other side or not. The mind-bending sonic violence feels cathartic and liberating, but not at the expense of the violence itself. You’re not getting anywhere without first making it through this treacherous, hellish swamp, aka Samsara.

For such dense music, the U.K.’s Venom Prison whip out a remarkable array of metallic styles. At times, guitar solos screech through Samsara’s storm like a bolt of lightning, while just as easily, the band devolve into pelting chaos like a suffocatingly intense rainfall. Most often, vocalist Larissa Stupar’s ultimately standout work falls into the latter category, with walls of pulsating noise emanating just from her voice and lending that much more raw power to the music and what it represents.

That “noise” binds the record together like connective tissue, and atop that writhing foundation, the band clearly know how to mold these various elements for the maximum brute force impact. Even in the context of their welcomely outlandish death metal, or whatever you’d like to call it, Venom Prison are decidedly not monotone.

The band’s violently confrontational music can’t be extricated from the lyrical themes that Stupar shares, which are similarly direct and in-your-face. For this record, she has allowed herself to erupt into a primal rage that feels like it delivers the same deeply painful yet cathartic effect on its own as Samsara’s music does. She most often walks through the turmoil that women face across modern society because, in short, she’s not the one to have invented violence.

There’s nowhere to turn to escape the maniacally aggressive, upending nature of her band’s newest record. The March 15 Prosthetic Records release Samsara ultimately feels not like just some threat of a “beast” out there somewhere, but like that “beast” has escaped its bounds and is ripping you to shreds.

Purchase the album here.


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