MPIRE OF EVIL (formerly PRIMEVIL) — the new band featuring former VENOM members Jeff “Mantas” Dunn (guitar), Antony “Antton” Lant (drums; brother of VENOM frontman Conrad “Cronos” Lant) and Tony “The Demolition Man” Dolan (bass, vocals) — will release its debut mini-album, “Creatures Of The Black”, on October 21 via Scarlet Records. The CD will feature cover versions of four songs that influenced the members of MPIRE OF EVIL (“Exciter” by JUDAS PRIEST, “God Of Thunder” by KISS, “Hell Ain’t A Bad Place To Be” by AC/DC and “Motörhead” by MOTÖRHEAD), plus two new songs, “Hellspawn” and “Reptile”, which are available for streaming on the group’s Facebook page. A full-length effort will follow sometime in 2012.
In 1979 a dark formation occurred, a black ripple that would soon become a wave: one which made a huge impact on the metal world. Taking the name of Mantas, the legendary guitarist Jeff Dunn formed an outfit that rivaled the stage shows of bands such as KISS and challenged the occult themes that BLACK SABBATH had pioneered. He took the knife edge that had made JUDAS PRIEST dangerous and the volume that had made MOTÖRHEAD so intense, and rolled it into a big, black dirtball called Venom.
With renewed hunger and inspiration, Mantas joined up with the Demolition Man, bassist/vocalist Tony Dolan, in 1988. The duo penned “Prime Evil”, an album hailed as a return to form with its cleaner sound and the mighty vocal attack of Dolan. After Demolition Man‘s exit in 1992, drummer Antton took up the sticks for the powerful “Resurrection” album, after which Mantas departed from VENOM.
In 2010 Mantas‘s work with his own band, DRYLL, seemed to be paying dividends, and following his drummer’s departure, Antton — who played in his own outfit, DEF-CON-ONE — joined DRYLL. It didn’t take long before the mutterings began. What if Mantas and Antton could coax the Demolition Man back? The call went out — and in came Dolan once more…
The trio decided that they needed to produce something befitting of their musical prowess. Something unashamedly heavy and without restraint; free of ego, deception and unreasonable behavior — and fulfilling for them as musicians.
The band’s die-hard fans were left to choose a name for the new group, as it was they who had pushed for the new group to form. Naturally, in hindsight, PRIME EVIL was the name they chose — and so the band were free to make the music that they had always wanted to make, without pretending that it was 1982 all over again. After announcing themselves to the world the band were asked to reconsider the chosen name out of respect for another act who had named themselves after VENOM album title. Without hesitation and with understanding and the respect to be expected by this honorable trio, they changed their name.
In a recent interview with Metality, Dolan stated about the formation of MPIRE OF EVIL,”Well, I think it came about as Mantas and Antton who were both doing separate music projects (DRYLL and DEF-CON-ONE) came together in DRYLL. Mantas needed a drummer and Antton offered his services. People kept wondering what it would be like if Mantas and Antton played with me and it was kind of, ‘Oh, yeah that would be fun perhaps,’ but then DRYLL played a show and performed the VENOM track ‘Black Metal’ [with Antton] and that was kind of it. People started saying I had to come in and play, too. So I got a phone call and had a few chats with Mantas and that was that; we decided we’d see if it worked. It does, very well, but then again myself and Mantas have always been friends and played well together. The addition of a drummer as good as Antton was something too cool to pass up! [MPIRE OF EVIL] is old school, I guess, melodic, heavy, powerful. [As to how MPIRE OF EVIL is] different from VENOM, [I’m] not sure. We will inevitably be compared, as we are all ex-VENOM [members] and, of course, Mantas was the main songwriter for VENOM, so… But I feel we are more like classic metal. MOTÖRHEAD, BLACK SABBATH…. PRIEST and VENOM.”
A video interview with MPIRE OF EVIL can be viewed in three parts: