As you most probably know, Venom Prison’s latest record Samsara is easily one of the best extreme metal releases in recent years. Incendiary, intense and justly righteous, it’s a masterful demonstration on how brilliant the extreme music can be when utilised as a weapon against injustices. Here, guitarist Ben Thomas walks us through Samsara one track at a time, exploring the thought processes and lyrical themes that sculptured the record.
This was one of the first songs we started when writing the album. We wanted something punchy, fast and would grab attention immediately. We also wanted something diverse to open with that could hint at all the different elements of the album to come.
Megillus & Leaeana
Lyrically this song addresses homophobia , transphobia and illustrates some of the struggles that some people still face in 2019. Larissa is quite graphic when describing a 'mouth filled with rocks and holy soil'.
Whilst writing and recording the pre-production this was one of Ash's and my favourites as it had all the different elements of heavy music we enjoy. Thrash power chords, single note trem picking, delay driven leads, wah, dive bombs, solo's and breakdowns.
The subject matter was inspired by a podcast Larissa and I listened to during a long drive whilst on tour in the USA. It explored the surrogacy industry in India where making a baby involves sperm, several wombs, numerous countries and lots of money.
Self Inflicted Violence
Musically this was one of later songs we wrote for the album. I wanted something that didn't let up in tempo and intensity. When delivered with some incredibly personal and insightful lyrics from Larissa it delivers quite a frantic feeling when listening back.
I love ambient music and experimenting with effects to create an almost synth-like guitar sound. We wanted something to separate the intensity of the first 4 songs and lull people into a false sense of security and suspense before dropping them into Asura's Realm.
Probably the most melodic song we put together for this album. We wanted a balance between beautiful chords and sad progressions. Larissa screams about corruption and the playground that is politics in 2019.
This is one of those songs that Ash and I had worked and worked on and never quite realised it's potential. It was only until in the studio after recording the instrumentals it become a favourite within the band. It is a slower offering with a huge chorus and layers of guitars to keep you sucked in. This song makes me wanna swap my guitar for bass just to get lost in the chorus.
Lyrically this song is about narcissistic and selfish personality types who would suck the life out of you and then discard you.
Implementing The Metaphysics Of Morals
Instrumentally this my personal favourite song on the album. Ash and I had written so many layers to this song we where lucky to have come to the studio prepared with sheet music. We're proud of the dynamics, key changes and trying to keep the listener in suspense. Larissa wrote her lyrics about a student named Brock Turner who sexually assaulted a girl who had passed out and was then caught by other students. He only served 3 months of a 6 month prison sentence.
Dukkha is the buddhist concept of suffering or pain. You will hear Larissa chanting Samsara as this song is about the realisation of anxiety and suffering and the endless cycle of panic attacks. Ash had written some pretty intense parts for this song during pre-production and it was a lot of fun structuring this one. This is going to be huge to play live.
We come to the end of the album and wanted to save something special. We felt this was another one of the most dynamic songs we had written. I feel the different writing styles that Ash and I have really came together on this one. This has intense breakdowns, twin leads, synth-like guitar swells, bass tapping through a wah pedal and some of my personal favourite vocals that Larissa has delivered. The ending of this song has painfully high screams about suicidal thoughts, psychosis and crisis. Naraka, in Buddhism is the lowest realm. The hell realm. And that is where we wanted to leave the listener.
Samsara is out now via Prosthetic Records