Venom Prison’s Ash Gray: 5 Albums That Changed My Life

Venom Prison, 2019; photo by Jake Owens

Venom Prison‘s latest album, 2019’s Samsara,  was one of that year’s finest extreme-metal offering, thanks in no small part to the dexterous shredding of  guitarist Ash Gray. Just check out the LP’s lead single “Uterine Industrialisation” — savage and knotty, it breaks into almost–Lamb of God–level groove at times while also throwing in some seriously virtuosic soloing. With that in mind, we tracked down Gray and asked him to share with us five of the albums that made him the musician he is today. He had some great picks — see below.

Iron Maiden – The Number of the Beast

My old man would jam this in the house all the time, and I loved it — it made me want to play guitar. I wanted to shred like Murray and Smith.

Walls of Jericho – Hail the Dead

A friend gave me a copy of this record when I was discovering hardcore. I was still in school and the guy was a couple of years older and asked me if I like hardcore. I was like, “What the fuck is that?” He only spoke to me because I had a camo backpack.

Carcass – Heartwork

This album did a lot for me — the writing, the playing ability, grooves, heaviness. Everything.

Mike Oldfield – Songs of Distant Earth

This record reminds me of home a lot. My old man would always jam this in the house or in the car, and it’s just a record that makes me feel at home.

Converge – Jane Doe

This record introduced me to a lot of subgenres and crossovers. It opened my eyes to hardcore a lot more, as well. I can’t really say much more than that.