Sound — 8
Being a metal fan from Wales you might assume that I'd be a "bullet fan boy" so to speak, but in truth I agreed with the majority of the fans that their last two records have been sub standard (especially the more recent of the two). However this time around with the reappearance of Colin Richardson and a more traditional production process, I feel like the band has taken the right steps in proving to their fans and the general metal community that they can still have a big impact on the scene and still be relevant (considering the majority of their success comes from a debut album that is a decade old now). Instrumentally, "Venom" is a vast improvement over recent efforts with the drumming being more aggressive and technical when the direction of the song calls for it but also calming down and playing simply when required. The guitar work I feel like is also an improvement, The riffs while maybe not 100% original or life changing, are still hard hitting and paced out nicely with a nice mix of tempos, plus the solos seem a lot more well thought out this time compared to the mindless chromatic shredding utilized heavily on "Temper Temper."
Lyrics — 7
This is the part where most of the reviewers compare Matt's lyricism to that of a 13 year old girl or something along those lines. In truth the lyrics aren't going to make you contemplate the meaning of life or anything that deep but this is why I argue that Bullet has never had outstanding lyrics, even on "The Poison" they weren't anything incredibly impressive. Plus I remember a quote I heard to describe the band a few years back being "the band that's heavy enough for you, but also soft enough for your girlfriend" or something along those lines, but it speaks volumes about the bands demographic, which isn't anything to be ashamed about and the fact that the band is playing into that demographic lyrically is probably the smartest way to go. Despite some people's issues with the lyrics, the vocal delivery on the record is probably Matt Tuck's best since their debut or "Scream Aim Fire," especially considering the guy is 35 now and had all his previous vocal troubles.
Overall Impression — 8
To sum it up, I'd say this album is stronger instrumentally and vocally over their last two (I was surprised by the amount of negative reviews and hate personally). The album kind of reminds me of Killswitch Engage and "Disarm the Descent" in the way that we have another old generation metalcore band that has worked on revitalizing and bringing back some of their signature sound. The songs on "Venom" seem more memorable than their previous effort and the bonus tracks from the deluxe/special editions are also a nice expansion of the albums direction. If you're looking for that old school heavier bullet sound check out the tracks "Skin," "The Harder the Heart (The Harder It Breaks)" and "Pariah." The title track surprisingly is the one that offers the softer side of the band if you're into that, but most of the album is pretty consistent for me and there are several tracks that show both sides to the band well. nothing hugely ground breaking but enjoyable and fun metal, which is rare these days.