Jeff ‘Mantas’ Dunn Wants Classic Venom Reunion for ‘Black Metal’ 40th Anniversary
Original Venom guitarist Jeff 'Mantas' Dunn recently engaged with fans on Facebook Live and in part of the question and answer session, he urged a reunion of the band's classic lineup in celebration of the 40th anniversary of their highly influential second album, Black Metal.
Venom's first two albums, 1981's Welcome to Hell and the aforementioned Black Metal, are among the most impactful releases in metal's history. The group's unpolished and grimy take on the raucous sound of Motorhead, coupled with intensely Satanic themes, went on to influence metal's trajectory in many ways, helping to spur the thrash, black metal and death metal genres by raising the bar for aggression in heavy music.
Both Mantas and original drummer Abaddon (Anthony Bray) have been out of the official Venom lineup for two decades, while bassist and vocalist Cronos (Conrad Lant) has served as Venom's leader, flanked by guitarist Rage, who joined in 2007, and drummer Danté, who joined in 2009.
Meanwhile, Mantas and Abaddon, along with one-time Venom bassist and vocalist Tony 'Demolition Man' Dolan, formed Venom Inc. in 2015, though Abaddon departed from the lineup in 2018.
Tensions have notably existed between Cronos and his former bandmates, and on Facebook Live, Mantas expressed a desire for everyone to come together for the sake of celebration of the Venom legacy.
One viewer asked Mantas if the Venom trio were on good terms, to which Mantas replied (transcription via Blabbermouth), "I'll never retract anything I've said, because I'm sorry but it's true. Regardless of what him [Cronos] or him [Abaddon] thinks, it's true; it's just as simple as that."
"I'm not going to go out there and blatantly talk a lot of bollocks like one of us did. What I've said is absolutely true, and I've put it in print — into the book as well. It's there. It's absolutely true. But we're at that age now — I'm 60; Bray's, like, 61; Conrad's what — 58, 59? We've just been through a massive fucking pandemic where nobody's done anything. We've got fucking a war in Europe at the minute. [All the issues we've had with each other], it fucking pales into insignificance; it's fucking bollocks," Mantas contended.
The guitarist, seemingly aware the damage his words have done in regards to his relationship with his former bandmates, went on, "Like I say, I'll never fucking say 'sorry'; I'll never fucking turn around and go, 'Yeah, well, I didn't fucking mean that.' What I said was fucking true. But we missed the 25th anniversary. We didn't celebrate the 30th anniversary..."
As obviously influential as Venom's early material was on the next wave of bands that came after (Slayer, Celtic Frost, Metallica, Mayhem), it's when others point this out to Mantas that he's most aware of the impact his music made.
"When I did the interviews for the 40th anniversary of Welcome To Hell — there's another anniversary we fucking missed; nothing done about it; it just passed... But the thing was, I got these interviews in, and people were saying to me, 'You just don't realize the importance of what you did.' I don't, because I suppose we were so close to it," he explained.
Still humble, Mantas concluded, "I've said it a million times — I was just a fucking kid writing tunes in my fucking bedroom living with my mom, and I was lucky; people fucking dig them. But it's, like, could we not just fucking celebrate this for once? I mean, fucking hell — I've already died once. And fucking you haven't got long, and you haven't got long, because I know what you've fucking done to yourselves."
In May of 2018, it was revealed that Mantas had suffered a heart attack and a temporary loss of life before he was brought back by emergency responders.
Watch the complete Facebook Live chat directly below.