Venom is one of the most influential heavy metal bands of all time. Complain all you want, but there is no denying that fact and you would be foolish to even try. What you would not be foolish to try, however, is forming your very own Venom-clone band. Here is a quick, 5-step process to get you on your feet.
STEP 1 – Listen to Venom
Naturally, in order to start your own Venom-clone band, you must be familiar with Venom’s music. This should be the most obvious step on the list, but there is not any other place to start. Now, when I say “be familiar with Venom’s music” I don’t mean have a passing knowledge of the band’s catalog; I am talking full-fledged devotion to all things Venom. You have to listen to Venom daily, no matter what the cost. You should be able to make it through their discography at least 5 times in a week. If you can’t, then you obviously are not trying hard enough so just give up right now. And yes, their ENTIRE discography, you heard me. NON-CRONOS ALBUMS STILL COUNT! Don’t be a ninnywit and try to pull off just sticking with their first 2 albums, that won’t fly. TOTAL VENOM DEVOTION. Cast in Stone and The Waste Lands are just as crucial as Black Metal and Welcome To Hell, mark my words. In short, lay down your souls to the gods, rock ‘n roll. Actually, ONLY listen to Venom, no other bands are needed in your life if you want to be the perfect Venom-clone band. Venom in your ears 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, no substitutes.
STEP 2 – Dress Like Venom
The visual aesthetic is crucial to creating the perfect Venom-clone band. Cronos and the gang have always kept a certain spunk to their wardrobe and if you want to be just like them you MUST adhere to the following rules.
1. Wear Black and only black. White is allowed and occasionally red, but all black, all the time.
2. No shirts. There is nothing like your bare muscled chest to prove allegiance to Black Metal. If you absolutely have to wear a shirt though it must, in some way, be related to Venom and under no circumstances are sleeves allowed. Cut your sleeves so you can show off your guns to the roaring crowds.
3. Spandex pants. You see how every other band is wearing black denim jeans? They are wrong and will never reach Venom’s level of credibility. Why spandex pants you ask? It won’t restrict any stage antics and allows you to move quickly out-of-the-way for any misguided pyrotechnic displays, duh.
4. Studs. Wear pyramid studs wherever you can fit them. Around your neck, biceps, waist, ankles, thighs and wrists, on your guitar straps and in your hair are all preferable locations. None of those crusty cone studs either; you’re a metal band. Pyramids studs til death! Chains are okay, but only when paired with pyramid studs.
5. Boots, at least knee-high, are a must. You cannot complete your wardrobe without them. Leather only, see rule #1 for color options.
6. Accessories are optional, but must be limited to; aviator sunglasses, snakes, skulls, bullet belts, more pyramid studs, axes and ninja weapons for photo-shoots, and smoke machines.
STEP 3 – Write Lyrics Like Venom
Okay, you’ve made it this far. You listen to Venom while wearing your spandex pants now. Good, good. Since you are now more than familiar with their music, you should have picked up on a few of their lyrical tropes. First and foremost, write something evil. This should be fairly simple; all you have to do is jumble a bunch of dark, evil and ominous words together to form a basic story and you’re golden blackened. For example:
“I walked out in the street that night
Darkness surrounded me
Evil demons, ghouls and wicked sprites
Devoured my soul, you see
Now I’m dead and the night is black
Evil Lucifer in command
He hung me up on his morbid rack
And now my howls fill this land
It really is that simple. I made that up in one minutes’ time. Not hard at all. Now, during your writing and recording process, you must have the “cringe” track. Black Metal wouldn’t be Black Metal without “Teacher’s Pet” now would it? This step is crucial. You must make your listener feel awkward and sexually insecure at least once per album and you are obligated to write no less than one song in this vein. I won’t show you what I wrote for this portion of the step, but I’m sure your disgusting brain can come up with something.
STEP 4 – Write Music Like Venom
To begin this step properly you must first own instruments worthy of the music you plan on playing. To start off see rule #1 from step 2. Now that the color is chosen, you MUST have a guitar and bass that could double as a weapon. Whether you choose the classic Flying V or the extreme BC Rich Ironbird, your instrument must have points. The more points the better, as this will help with your evil and dark aesthetic, so run with it. Drums must also adhere to the color scheme but your drummer will need more toms and cymbals than he knows what to do with. Go big or go home. Just don’t think about using any of the extras.
Now that your instruments are chosen, time to write some tunes. So you’ve been taking guitar lessons for 15 years and have mastered the art of tapping arpeggios? Yeah, throw that shit out. You know all of the major and minor chords? Can play fluidly through the Mixolydian and Dorian scales? That’s nice, but throw that shit out too. Two words: POWER CHORDS. That’s it. Power chords and open string tremolos are all you need. See those dots on your guitar? Just follow them and you are set. Want to solo? Not necessary, but if you must just play a bunch of sped up Chuck Berry licks. Pretty simple really. Drums just need to follow along and keep the beats primal, no fancy stuff or you’ll show up the rest of the band. Just sit there and keep those bass pedals moving.
STEP 5 – Play Live Like Venom
So now that you have the attitude, the aesthetic, the lyrics and the music of Venom down, you just need to get out there and do it! Here are a few key points to remember, however. Venom was best served as a 3 piece. Sure a 2nd guitar can help fill out your sound, but remember that it isn’t necessary. And one of your musicians better sing, none of this frontman, wannabe part of the band, bullshit. THREE MEMBERS. Got that? Before each show make sure you get completely hammered. Not just a little tipsy, I’m talking slobberknockered, falling down, playing out of tune and off-beat, DRUNK. After you get wasted, be sure to insult your audience, their mothers, the venue you’re playing and the venue owner’s mother. Basically, do all you can to get thrown out and banned from ever playing there again. Nothing is too much. If it seems like a good idea after you get drunk, that means IT IS A GOOD IDEA and you should do it.
Jump around, break stuff and show off your muscles even if they are nonexistent. On top of your physical prowess, pyrotechnics are another crucial element to your live presence. Fire and explosions are metal and if you don’t have some form of them during each song, pack up and go home. Finally, we get to playing the actual music. Remember what I said about throwing everything you know about music out the window? That still pertains here. You WILL forget your songs halfway through your drunken stupor and you WILL keep playing. When in doubt, feedback is your friend. If your disgusting guitar tone isn’t aurally assaulting the remnants of your audience, barrage them with a high-pitched onslaught of feedback frequencies. Trust me, they will thank you for it.
So there you have it, a surefire way to forming your own successful Venom-clone band.
Now go forth and slay, ye mighty bastards!