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Baker's Dozen

Walk On In Darkness: Tom G Warrior's 13 Favourite LPs
Jimmy Martin , September 20th, 2017 09:46

Tom G Warrior of Celtic Frost, Triptykon and Hellhammer speaks to Jimmy Martin about the elements that fed his nightmare kaleidoscope, from Quincy Jones to Venom, Roxy Music to the 'Sisters and 'Sabbath

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Venom - Welcome To Hell
This is the exact antidote to Emerson, Lake & Palmer, but it's equally important to me. Of course it's pretty much the most primitive heavy metal album ever recorded, at least at the time, but that's exactly what clicked for me. I had been subconsciously searching for ever heavier music after discovering UFO in the late 1970s and then discovering Motörhead. I got really drawn into ever heavier music, and I couldn't get enough of it - if I look back on it now analytically as a 53-year-old man it was probably down to the circumstances of my youth, but I was extremely into dark and heavy music. I discovered Discharge immediately after I discovered the first Venom single, and once we had heard the Venom single we couldn't wait for the album to be released, and in December 1981 we ran to the record store to get it. It's a life changing album. It made me dissolve my first band and form Hellhammer afterwards, and of course from there on the path of my life was pre-destined, and that's in large part down to Welcome To Hell.

It was once again a band who didn't give a toss - at the time the trend in heavy metal was to become more melodic, more commercial, as I think you see with all the NWOBHM bands as time progressed. The trend was towards singers with multi-octave voices like Ronnie Dio or Klaus Meine of Scorpions. And then came Venom, and they really didn't give a shit. They were just heavy and primitive, and again there was nothing that sounded like that at the time - when this album hit, you stood there in the record store with headphones on, and you looked at each other because you couldn't believe that you were hearing. 'One Thousand Days In Sodom' or 'Red Light Fever' or things like that. There was nothing like that - it was a breakthrough, it was the creation of extreme metal. For us it was like heroin.

I actually met them back then - when they did their first European tour, the Seven Dates Of Hell tour [in 1984], the first concert was in Switzerland. A few weeks before the first concert they came to Switzerland with their manager and had a press conference at the hotel in Zurich, and these little audacious fans went there and we sat in the front row and we threw the Hellhammer demo at them. This was three years after the first Venom album, and on the Hellhammer demo it said 'Venom are destroying music, Hellhammer are destroying Venom.' So we threw the demo tape onto their table, and they actually put the demo tape into a cassette player and played it, the first song, and they made fun of it and threw it away. But in 1981, this band was still full of mystery. Before we read the first few interviews where they completely destroyed their own mystique, this band was completely mysterious to us, and I can't even sufficiently describe how iconic Venom was for us, how important. We were shocked later on when in Kerrang! they said it was all just an act, because we took it seriously, and it changed us for life.


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