BARGAIN BIN REVIEWS – Violation’s “Beyond the Graves” and “Moonlight’s Child”

Still one of my very favorite Bargain Bin finds, this duo of CDs was found at a CD Warehouse in Southeast Missouri after literally hours of perusal. I had never heard of the band, but assumed by the cover, logo, album titles and labels that this was worth a look. And thanks to the old listening station, was able to preview both CDs, and I was sold after preview of mere seconds of each.

by Erik T

Hailing from Germany, Violation were hardly a household name in the late 90s. Violation only released two albums, and both had a little different style, but they are both very good albums and worth your time of you also happen to stumble across them in a used bin or cheap on line venue. I’m still thrilled I found these two releases in one price for under $10, as both get regular play and are a nice additions to my otherwise predictable melodic death metal collection… Violation Beyond the Graves (Last Episode Records, 1998) Moonlight’s Child (Red Stream,  2000)

Violation‘s debut was produced by Hypocrisy‘s Peter Tagtgren at Abyss Studio, who also added some backing vocals.  And the sound has to be one of Tagtgren’s beefiest tones, sounding like a mix of a Sunlight Studio buzz and Hypocrisy‘s early releases. The style of the album reflects the production values as Violation seemed caught between two worlds; old school Swedish death metal and the melodic death metal explosion that was occurring when they released their debut. The moody, atmospheric synths and mid range rasps hint at more melodeath influence but some super deep croaks and rumbling mid range riffs keeps balances the material nicely between cantering melodeath of the day, and a more burly old school Stockholm tone. That balance is perfectly defined within the first two track; opener  “Dark Embrace”, a rangy varied number with a plethora of moods and second standout track “Genocide” which alternates between a gruff death metal rumble, a doomy Gorement/God Macabre lope and some bouncy synth moments. Admittedly the  presentation is a bit rough around the edges, and the synths seems a bit out of place within the thicker, more death metal guitars, but the songwriting keeps everything grounded and interesting as a rougher, burlier take on melodic death metal. Tracks like “Invocation” or “Through the Gates of Infinity” are just good songs with lots of nods to both Entombed and Dark Tranquillity and should be checked out by fans of both.

Two years later, and with a tweaked line-up, Violation released Moonlight’s Child again produced by Tagtgren but with a much more polished and cleaner tone, though still retaining a nice Stockholm undercurrent and buzz. And with the cleaner production came a cleaner, more polished and focused album, with a tighter delivery and more of an emphasis on melodic death metal. Though the guitars still had a stern mid range crunch, increased synths, less deep vocals and more cantering, melodic riffs made for an album that oozed a little more of a Gothenburg sound. But in the case of Violation, it was a good thing as Moonlight’s Child was still chock full of great melodic riffs and enamoring synths, but never being quite as ‘death metal lite’  or Iron Maiden-y as many of their solo obsessed melodeath peers. Thanks to the guitar tone and Stockholm backbone, excellent tracks like “Downfall”, “Trapped in Chaos”,  “Nightshades” and “Mortal Divinity” and have just a little more ‘oomph’ bit still have hooks abound. In all, an album and band that appears to have been completely overlooked in 2000 and frankly a band that had more talent and promise than a band like country mates Night In Gale who somehow ended up releasing 3 albums on Nuclear Blast. Violation didn’t record anything else and split up in 2005 with members going on to be in Soul Demise, Hellscape and Cryptic Wintermoon. And while Soul Demise has a similar sound, it’s unfortunate that they could not stay together and continue delivering their more menacing take on a genre  that would end up getting completely saturated with unoriginal clones. A fine win for the Bargain Bin.



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