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Dubbed one of The Fastest Guitarists, by Guitar One (2003) and Guitar World (2008) magazines. Chris Impellittri is among titans ranking along side of Randy Rhoads, Eddie Van Halen, and Yngwie Malmsteen. For years he has been busting out records full of power metal that was beyond its time. These days’ bands like Dragonforce, thrive on speed and technique. Chris was doing it decades ago and he kept cranking out record after record of ear blistering shred fests!

Here with his, oh I don’t know, millionth record, titled Venom he drops more power/speed metal down your gullet. I don’t mind. After all, I am all about metal.

Opening with the title track Venom, singer Rob Rock shrieks out the word as Chris lets his fingers light up the fret board. This takes me back to the late 80’s when I first heard Impellitteri. My eyes stared at the speakers as my jaw hit the floor. Nothing has changed, only now I wear headphones. “Empire of Lies” tells of said kingdom falling, and “We Own the Night” is one of the anthems here. Both delivered with speed and a constant “jack hammer” type rhythm. Speaking of hammers, they let it fall during, “Nightmare” - every drop of the beat is like being the nail.

Slowing the tempo down a beat or two, but not losing the heaviness, is the grunge groove infused “Face the Enemy.” Although not as fast as the ones before it, you ride the tension and the solo burns your face. Then kicking it up again, “Domino Theory” takes control and spins you around with pinched harmonics, double kicks, screams like banshees, and again the solo pierces the veins.

In some interview a long time ago, Rob Rock said that the group is not a Christian band. He and Chris are Christians but the rest of the band is not; therefore, ‘not a Christian band’. I don’t know what they say now, that was over ten years ago and a lot can happen. Anyway, I am glad that they are still bold enough to share a song like “Jehova” on this record. Every band writes what they believe in their hearts to be true and these guys are no exception. Believe what you want, but you will have to admit that this song shreds!

“Rise” would be another anthem on this record. You can be who you want to be, and live your dream. You just have to Rise to the challenge. This bit of encouragement is handed to you with a fist full punch and a soulful touch on the vocals. Then there’s a song like “Time Machine” that buries you underneath a pile of metal. More double kick action that’s builds up to another ripping guitar solo. Ending with a song that pushes the envelope of rhythm and tells of what true love is, “Holding On” has Chris sweeping and shredding his way through this tune with everyone else is just trying to keep up.

Venom is a record that’s done the way a record should be. It’s true to itself and true to the listener. Downside, is that most of the songs were so fast, they were over by the time I could count what the time signature was. But songs like “Face the Enemy,” “Jehova,” and “Holding On,” are easy to follow.

Upside, is that Chris and the boys are still busting out great guitar driven metal backed by fierce drumming and tight pocket bass playing. I highly recommend this to those who like Dragonforce, Fates Warning, and Cacophony. All said and done, it’s a 9 from me.

Tim Duran, HMS

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