MUSIC FEATURE: Behind The Noise – Venom Prison
Photo Credit: Andy Ford
Venom Prison are back with their pummelling new album Erebos, released earlier this month via Century Media Records. The band had been teasing the record since November, giving us a first glimpse with the aggressive, catchy Judges Of The Underworld. We caught up with guitarist Ash Gray to find out more, including the writing process, themes, accompanying music video and stories from behind the scenes.
Can you give us your quick elevator pitch on this track? Why does this one stand out for you?
Judges Of The Underworld was the first single from Erebos and a big step and hint to what the band are bringing with this new album cycle. It’s aggressive, progressive in sections, and has a massive chorus, finished off by a stupidly heavy outro.
How did you tackle the writing process for the song? Was there anything unique about this track compared to your usual/previous approach?
Myself and Ben Thomas (guitarist) have our own home studios, so we bounce ideas back and forth constantly. Judges Of The Underworld was different however: Ben and I met up one day and just literally passed the guitar back to each other riff after riff! It was seamless, usually we have to sit on a song for a short while to see where we can improve it or tweak sections in or out, but Judges Of The Underworld just didn’t have any of that – it was the first song written for Erebos as well. The approach on this song was just to be super catchy and have massive moments, bringing in big hooks and working with structuring a lot more on this record.
Can you tell us how the song’s theme came about?
Judges Of The Underworld deals with the crippling reality of people who face incarceration, who oftentimes are followed by violence over a lifetime. This violence can present itself as a dominating factor in a context of structural poverty and racial inequality, creating roles in an individual’s life where they are not only the victim, but also witness and offender at different times in different situations. But the violence we address in our courts and prisons is judged out of social context and can therefore not lead to a fair and personalised resolution for people who are stuck in a cycle of violence and systematic oppression.
Tell us about the video, do the themes of the single transfer to the video?
It was important for us to visualise this feeling of isolation, anxiety, and repeated violence in the music video for Judges Of The Underworld. The idea was to show an individual who is stripped down to their basic needs and instincts. Consumed by their helplessness to navigate in an everyday situation, feeling isolated within themselves whilst going under in a sea of people that face similar conditions. This is where Thomas Coe Brooker comes in as a director and cinematographer; with his unique eye for detail he was able to bring out this combative helplessness and aggressiveness of said individual. He was able to convey the feeling of being alone in a crowd, suffering the same fate as many others, where isolation becomes your existence and a vicious cycle of your life at the hands of systematic violence.
Do you have any behind the scenes stories from the video shoot?
We were lucky enough to have friends and good people who were more than willing to help out with the music video. Some of them didn’t even know each other and what we asked wasn’t just the norm. We told them how close and personal it would get and everyone was keen for the idea so that definitely deserves a mention. We shot over two days in Firebug Studio (Wales). Jonathan (actor), Brooker (video), Ash (BTS and assistant) all deserve a massive thanks for making it happen.
Anything else you’d like to add for our readers?
Erebos is out now, available to purchase HERE. Be sure to follow VP on socials for more updates @venomprison.
Venom Prison‘s new album Erebos is out now via Century Media Records, available to stream or purchase HERE.