Onslaught
Sounds of Violence (Reissue)

Long-running UK trashers, Onslaught has been one of my fave thrash bands and certainly my fave UK thrash band since their 1985 debut Power From Hell, which I purchased on vinyl when it was released.  To this day their second album The Force, from 1986, is still my favorite release from them, but all their releases are pretty damn amazing, IMO.

When Onslaught reformed in 2004, it was the intent of main man Nige Rockett to make the band a full-time destructive force and a mere three years later they released the outstanding reunion album – Killing Peace.  It was definitely Onslaught tried and true; however with better musical equipment and productions, the band added an extra layer of thrash metal crunch.  To some extent, their updated sound had/still has a modern-day Exodus approach with the super heavy crunchy thrash metal guitar riffing.  The music – was just as evil and even better played then their 80’s output.  Onslaught then went on tours and was and still are prominent in the scene.

Sounds of Violence, in 2011, was their newest album, at the time.  10 songs in 45 minutes (2 were an intro and outro, though) and it was face ripping, but saw Onslaught concentrate a little more on groovier, tank-tread heavy passages.  The thrash speed was still there – however it was scaled back a tinge, than their previous effort.

AFM Records decided to reissue this 2011 album late in 2022 in a deluxe 2 cd format.  The first disc includes the original album and the bonus disc contains live songs and the bonus songs from the limited edition Sounds of Violence are incorporated as well.  If you never had that Japanese press of Sounds of Violence, well now dear fan, you have the bonus songs-yeah!  The album has a brief intro before the scorching “Born for War” erupts – having a very Slayer(ish) tone – think “War Ensemble” from Slayer.  “Born for War” is so darn catchy with the chorus:  Life or death or death of life. Death immortal mortal life. Live for dying pure. Death is waiting.  Born for war. Raining hate the blood runs red – Burning hatred only friend.  Born for war. Embryonic death machine.. Born for war.  Pretty brutal lyrics describing the nasty side of fighting in a war.  The music is damn heavy thrash metal.  The groove components are mixed in rather well and makes the speed moments truly shine.  The title track having a monster heavy riff-laden approach – with some mid-paced thrash elements.  The title track is one of the best songs Onslaught has written and I can imagine thrashers headbanging to this song in unison.  The variety of vocals/spoken word vocals really stretched the pipes of Sy Keeler, who I was saddened to see leave the band in 2020 – but the man has a family so he did the honorable thing.

“Godhead” was another standout with its opening thrash part and mid-paced heaviness – simply crushing.  The opening lyrics, as many of their lyrics, are venomous towards religion and the band pulled no punches on this track:  Jesus is religion is religion so pure.  Eternal supplication to the son of a whore.  Evangelizing masses with a vision of war.  Infectious propaganda is the killer of the cure. Children of god they hear no evil. Children of god they see no evil.  Children of god they speak no evil.Children of god pure fucking evil.  The song has some of the fastest thrashy parts the band has done, with that real fast part with the guitar solo is a true eargasm.

The bonus disc includes the well-done “Bomber” –  (Motörhead cover) as well as the band covering and updating original songs from Power from Hell: “Angels of Death” and “Thermo Nuclear Devastation of the Planet Earth”.  All killer renditions.  The 5 live songs span their 80’s era up to and including their last full length – from 2020- Generation Antichrist which was the debut of their new singer David Garnett.  The original album cover has been sharpened with a few minor added elements for enhancement purposes.  If you have the original album this may not be up your alley, but I must say the bonus disc is worth it.  Excellent and respectful reissue of the original.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Frank Rini
January 12th, 2023

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