Let the World Burn EP

Can you believe a brand new recording from Bay Area Thrashers, Vio-Lence, after close to 3 decades?  I would never have guessed it.  Seeing the band lay waste at the Thrash of the Titans benefit show for Chuck Billy and Chuck Schuldiner, back in 2001 was one my live highlight experiences for sure.  Maybe the best festival I’ve ever been to, actually, yes it still is.  So this is a special recording to have these thrashers putting out quality music.  I am not a fan of their third album in 1993, Nothing to Gain-really felt like a different band.  Their bread and butter is their scorching debut Eternal Nightmare from 1988, the follow-up Oppressing the Masses and the Torture Tactics EP.

 Let the World Burn continues along with those releases in terms of the songwriting and thrash elements.  Was the world clamoring for a new Vio-Lence recording?  Probably not, based on the sheer abundance of quality bands today; however this is a walk down nostalgia lane as original members Perry Strickland (drums), Phil Demmel (guitar) and vocalist Sean Killian return with scene veterans joining their ranks with Christian Olde Wolbers (ex-Fear Factory) on bass and Bobby Gustafson of Overkill fame on guitar.

5 songs in just under 30 minutes and “Flesh from Bone” is the first song to carve up this little ep.  Excellent bass guitar lines and right into the thrash.  Nothing to Gain-this is most certainly not.  The thrash is precise and some great double bass over the thrashy speed and chorus moments.  Killian sounds great and lets out some nice screams.  We get some gang stylized vocals too, because after all this is Bay Area Thrash and those moments are a must. The stomp at the 2 minute mark will have you slamming around just like we all did with “World in a World” all those damn years ago. Nice guitar solos coming through and this is a good song.  A bit on the clinical thrash style, but that’s mainly due to immense scene oversaturation of bands.

“Screaming Always” is up next and features an excellent guitar riff to open the song and the song speeds along and again just having Vio-Lence back is quite a treat, but at the end of the day, this is safe thrash metal, but good nonetheless.  Good chorus and the drum beat is well done, no frills, but some nice drum rolls, that are pretty fast in the beginning.  Sean going into a little deeper registers, similar to what Zetro has been doing with Exodus, not quite as deep, but definitely a vocal tie in to other extreme forms of metal.  I really like Sean going into those lower registers.  He has the pipes to do something like that and breaks up his already unique style of vocal tones.  I also enjoy the added pinch harmonics making those guitar tones even more ripping.  This song has another slow down like the previous track and I’d imagine some killer pits if this is played live.  The end almost has a Municipal Waste flavor to it.  You’ll hear it, impossible not to notice.

“Upon Their Cross” is the longest song on this ep and has quite the start and stomp groove to it.  This may be the “moshiest” song the band has ever written?  Perhaps, the main guitar riff almost calls to mind vintage Overkill, so Bobby thanks for bringing that influence in here brother.  The crunch to the riff is crunchier than eating Captain Crunch, mixed with Pop Rocks, mixed with a Pepsi and a very crunchy apple.  Seriously it’s killer.  The song picks up the speed with nice guitar soloing over the fast part and the rhythm section sounds pretty tight during these parts.  The isolated guitar moment after the thrash part is a cool atmospheric build-up and I was like Where the F is this song going??  And then yes you guessed it, right into that vicious and heavy groove.  This song is punishing and must be in their live set.  I would place this firmly in the middle of their live set.

The title track is a pretty fast number with very fast guitar picking.  I really like the fast parts.  The spoken word moments, after the fast thrash moments, around the 2.20 section is quite an abrupt and out of place moment.  It’s like there I am headbanging and waving my metal horns and now I’m forced to sit down and eat a sandwich before the ferocious groove music comes blasting in?  It’s weird.  I could maybe understand if this moment was pretty short, but it goes on for like over a minute and while the rest of the song redeems itself in abundance, that moment is really just out of left field.

Let the World Burn is a really good return to form EP by Vio-Lence.  Every song has fast moments and the ep cover of stakes through bodies is a nice way for the band to reintroduce themselves to the younger scene.  A few quips is this is safe thrash metal.  Nothing we have all not heard before and the overall music, at times, is a bit pedestrian.  The talent is certainly there and the highlight on this ep is definitely the guitar tone and riffing.  The guitar mix is perfect, as well as the tone.  But as a return to form and the fact Vio-Lence actually followed through on their words about releasing new material, this is killer. Yes I am a nostalgic bastid, and this would have been the perfect follow-up to the Torture Tactics ep, that’s how strong the quality is here.  Come and get some Vio-Lence!

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Frank Rini
April 8th, 2022


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