Along with lace-up leather trousers, the writings of Anton LaVey, and a pack of clove cigarettes, Black Metal -- the seminal '82 sophomore album by U.K. thrash-metal pioneer Venom -- should be required issue for would-be satanists.
Despite what contemporary Scandinavian church-burners have done under its name, black metal actually gestated near Newcastle in 1982, and Venom was its breach birth. You can hear in such Venom songs as the blood-splattered "Countess Bathory" the kernel of riff fury that Metallica polished into a collection of platinum records. It's been 25 years since Venom's debut, Welcome to Hell, and once again the trio summons lo-fi, high-pitched headbangers for its latest, Metal Black. When it comes to exaggerated bravado and supernatural malevolence, ask yourself How much more black could this be? The answer is none. None more black.