Great Metal Albums of 1981: Venom- Welcome to Hell


Thank God that my local record store back in the mid 1980s had the foresight to have a heavy metal import section otherwise I might not have heard of Venom for at least two more years from when I did. While Venom came out with all the other great NWOBHM acts in 1981, they didn’t quite enjoy the commercial success of the likes of Iron Maiden, Judas Priest or Saxon. This was in spite of the fact that commercial radio didn’t totally suck at that time. There was a genuine danger of them slipping beneath my radar totally but fortunately they didn’t and I got to hear great metal delights like their debut album “Welcome to Hell.”

After my obligatory listen, twice, to “Welcome to Hell,” I have come to the conclusion that Venom were actually ahead of their time. True, some people worried that rock music was the devil’s tool and would lead many an impressionable young mind to sacrifice goats to the dark lord, there wasn’t the all metal is Satanic fervor that would come a few years later and I was even dead smack in the bible belt at the time, thanks to the military. A few grumbled about demonic persuasion in music but Venom was the first band I know to come right out and sing about it. Songs like “Sons of Satan,” the title track, “One Thousand Days in Sodom” and “In League With the Devil” are all songs that would have the bible bashers wanting to throw copies of this album onto the fire pit. The best thing is that I get the firm impression that Venom just didn’t give a shit. I would never have taken the lyrics seriously then or now. In fact, I would have had a good giggle at them while enjoying the powerful metal that they deliver along with all those amusing lyrics. It can also be argued that they. along with Motorhead, were the first pioneers of thrash because there are a lot of thrash overtones on this album. I honestly believe that most of America wasn’t ready for this type of ear bashing back then though I would have been. “Welcome to Hell” is just a totally enjoyable album.

Track Listing:

1. Sons of Satan

2. Welcome to Hell

3. Schizo

4. Mayhem With Mercy

5. Poison

6. Live Like an Angel (Die Like a Devil)

7. Witching Hour

8. One Thousand Days in Sodom

9. Angel Dust

10. In League With Satan

11. Red Light Fever



Conrad ‘Cronos’ Lant- bass, vocals

Jefferey ‘Mantas’ Dunn- guitar

Tony ‘Abbadon’ Bray- drums

Reflecting back, I think the real reason why Venom and “Welcome to Hell” escaped my notice in 1981 was the fact I was down South at the time. It has nothing to do with religion, it was more the fact that I was in the South when Southern Rock had also ascended to its zenith. Come to think about it, what a fantastic year 1981 was for music! We had both Southern Rock and New Wave of British Heavy Metal. What more could a 20 year old US Marine, who was really digging music, could ask for?

On a personal note, I would like to thank everyone for their thoughts on the death of my father in law. The funeral went really well and again, thanks for all your support.

Next post: AC/DC- For Those About to Rock, We Salute You

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London





10 Responses to “Great Metal Albums of 1981: Venom- Welcome to Hell”

  1. Reblogged this on BRAIN TRUST MUSIC and commented:
    Venom should be no stranger to this site. What I refer to as their triumvirate – Black Metal, At War With Satan, and Welcome to Hell are must haves in any record collection. Two of the three are available in my store right now. But keep in mind, there’s no room for the meek or the mild!


    • You’re quite right, all three of those albums are must haves and thanks once again for the reblog. Do you sell books at your store? If you do, I was wondering if you would consider selling Rock And Roll Children.


  2. On my shopping list for sure…


  3. It’s all a bit scary …


  4. Listened to this today after reading your post. Thanks for the reminder!


  5. I lived 5 minutes away from Neat Records and used to see so many bands (inc. Venom) mooching around the studio and local pubs. Sadly its been knocked down now 😦


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