JEFF ‘MANTAS’ DUNN: VENOM Was Absolutely The First-Ever ‘Black Metal’ Band

Venom Inc Mantas 2022

During this year’s Bloodstock Open Air festival, former VENOM and current VENOM INC. guitarist Jeff “Mantas” Dunn spoke to Bloodstock TV‘s Oran O’Beirne about the 40th anniversary of VENOM‘s classic Black Metal album.

Black Metal was released in 1982 and is considered a classic of the heavy metal genre. The album’s dark and aggressive sound was a major influence on the emerging black metal scene, and its title track is one of the most famous and influential songs in metal history.

Regarding VENOM‘s early musical and visual approach, Mantas said: “We always said, if you put BLACK SABBATHJUDAS PRIESTMOTÖRHEAD and KISS, you put them all into a big pot and you stir it all up and then pour it out on the table, it’s gonna spell VENOM. Because that’s what we wanted — we wanted more leather than PRIEST, more pyros than KISS, dirtier and faster than MOTÖRHEAD, more Satanic than BLACK SABBATH. And that’s what happened with us — the bands that followed us looked at us and went, ‘Right. We can shove more pentagrams out there. We can be more evil than that.’ So black metal is still around 40 years to this day… Now, they have evolved. Without evolution comes extinction.”

“People say, ‘Were VENOM the first black metal band?’ F*ck yes! Sorry. We have an album called Black Metal, we have a f*cking song called ‘Black Metal,’ and we created a genre. And that happened just by us saying, ‘We’re black metal.’ That was it. It was a statement to individualize [VENOM from everyone else]… We wanted to be alienated from all of this that was going on.”

VENOM INC. released their latest studio album, There’s Only Black, on September 23rd via Nuclear Blast Records.