Venom Prison’s Ash Gray and Ben Thomas serve up thunderous riffs and haunting cleans in this killer Pain of Oizys playthrough

The momentum built by Venom Prison in the past few years is sustained on their latest full-length, Erebos, a 10-track collection of powerhouse arrangements, electrifying guitar riffs and monolithic breakdowns.

But as guitarists Ash Gray and Ben Thomas told Guitar World earlier this year, while the record is packed with killer guitar work, the focus was more on songwriting this time around.

“[The band's previous record] Samsara was very much a massive jigsaw puzzle of extreme riffs and ideas, but perhaps on reflection it could've been structured a bit more cleverly,” Thomas said. “With Erebos, we wanted to refine it in such a way that they were good songs [that] were memorable for the listener.”

This ethos is typified on Pain of Oizys, which sees Gray and Thomas dial back the distortion for some hauntingly beautiful clean lines – in addition to a hearty helping of hard riffing. 

With Erebos, we wanted to refine it in such a way that they were good songs that were memorable for the listener

Ben Thomas

And in this playthrough, premiered exclusively at Guitar World, the pair put the track's six-string lines on glorious display.

Gray's axe of choice is a Jackson Pro Series King V electric guitar equipped with Seymour Duncan JB humbuckers through an EVH 50W 6L6 guitar amp and Maxon OD808 overdrive pedal. Thomas also opts for a Jackson/EVH setup, with a Pro Series Rhoads RR24Q loaded with Seymour Duncan SH-6N/TB-6 pickups through an EVH EL34.

“This song uses a variety of techniques,” Gray explains. “The verse section is finger picked in the classical style, with palm-muted chords and harmonies played through a crunch setting. The lead line on the chorus uses a tapping technique that utilizes a DigiTech Whammy pedal for access to even higher intervals.”

  • Erebos is out now via Century Media Records.

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Sam Roche

Sam was Staff Writer at from 2019 to 2023, and also created content for Total Guitar, Guitarist and Guitar Player. He has well over 15 years of guitar playing under his belt, as well as a degree in Music Technology (Mixing and Mastering). He's a metalhead through and through, but has a thorough appreciation for all genres of music. In his spare time, Sam creates point-of-view guitar lesson videos on YouTube under the name Sightline Guitar.