Classic metal sound preserved
George Dionne | Cape Cod, MA | 10/22/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Not every band back in the 80's had to break out big time to strike a nerve among metal fans. Back then, some of the best metal was underground. These bands promoted their music by playing small clubs, house parties, and selling demo tapes. Some of the most notible were from the Bay-Area thrash metal scene. Some made it big (Metallica), some almost big (Testament), and others faded away (Death Angel). If you didn't scoop up thier albums, tapes, or (possibly) CDs then, you're out of luck today. Most are out of print and fetch a mighty penny on eBay. Well, don't fret thrash metal fans, because Megaforce Records knows that you're dying to have copies of one particular classic album without having to empty your wallet. That album is Vio-lence's Opressing the Masses. But that's not enough, Megaforce combines the album with the highly contrroversial (at the time) Torture Tactics EP.It would be trite for me to describe to you how the music sounds because let's face it, the thrash metal scene was all about how fast you could play and how heavy it was. Vio-Lence is no different. The only real difference was the key and the lyrics. Don't think it's a bad thing. Take for instance "I Profit", a song about the greedy bigwigs on Wall Street, it has that great two minute, punishing intrumental introduction, followed by pounding drums and rapid fire guitar licks. What happened to those prolonged intros? When Killian kicks in on vocals, it's a ferocious aural experience. It's true that Vio-Lence's lyrics are what separates them from the pack. "Engulfed by Flames" is about spontaneous combustion, while "World in a World" desribes the horrors that lay ahead for a lifer in prison. "Officer Nice" is a tounge-and-cheek tale of a seemingly rightous police officer, who in reality is crooked. The guitar runs are quick and intricate. The evils of alcohol are exposed by way of domestic abuse on "Liquid Courage". There's plenty of old school 'chugga-chugga' riffs here, as well as long drawn out solos. Another trend that has disappeared. "Torture Tactics" starts off the EP section of the disc. Looking at the lyrics today, it's laughable it was so contraversial that the track had to be omitted. It only speaks of the many ways you could be totured. What's so offensive about drilling teeth with no novicane, tearing off fingernails, slicing open flesh, and c-clamping skulls? Pretty tame by today's standards. It's till a powerful track though. The second appearace of "Officer Nice" is actually a 'fake' live version. The intro was taken from a live show, but it was overdubbed in the studio. Just the title of "Gutterslut" tips you off to the debautury that lies ahead. If you can't get enough of that, "Dicks of Death" continues the onslaught. This track has some GWAR-like qualities in its delivery. It's quite entertaining, and oddly the most commercial sounding track. Bottom Line:
This CD is awesome! Some of the best thrash metal of it's time! Megaforce managed to keep Vio-Lence's sound heavy and raw by not retouching the music and losing the original tone. It was great to hear that classic metal sound again. Vio-Lence don't really stand out from their peers, but they play thrash metal just a well as the best of them."
Badass Thrash + Hilarious Vox= Classic
General Zombie | the West | 12/21/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Vio-lence is probably most famous as the band that Robb Flynn was in before Machine Head, but they honestly deserve better than that. Vio-lence didn't really add much new to the thrash genre with 'Oppressing the Masses' but they did what they were doing pretty much perfectly. So, while this isn't the best thrash album I've heard, it's quite likely the funnest, and is really something of a forgotten classic.
The vox on this album are like nothing you've ever heard. I'm not even gonna bother trying to describe them, it's just beyond my ability. From a technical standpoint, Killian's vox are about as bad as you can imagine, but damn are they catchy. Having an outrageously odd style is a dangerous route to take, but it worked here. Pretty much every song here has an immediately memorable chorus, though 'World in a World' and 'Officer Nice' particularly standout.(Those also happen to be the two best songs on the album.) There's really not that much to say about this album, as all the songs sound pretty much the same, other than Mentally Afflicted, which is a bit more melodic, and a bit more ambitious structurally(and it works, too). Just unrelenting speed, riffs upon riffs, lots of gang vox and those incredbile main vocals. Vio-lence were quite obviously particularly influenced by Exodus, and they take the 'Bonded by Blood' sound to it's ultimate destination on this album.(and blow that album away while doing so) The songwriting may not be too sophisticated, but they know what they're doing within their limited goals, particularly when it comes to making the chorus really standout, but still seem like a natural extension of the track. Despite the largely unrelenting speed, the riffs maintain their rhythmic intensity and variety, rather than just becoming a blur, so the album has a solid groove from beginning to end. The solos are decent. Nothing really to write home about, but they get the job done. The production is a bit better than I'd anticipated, with a really vicious guitar tone.
As I said, there really isn't that much to say. Every song here tocks. Hard. And is plenty catchy. Definitely mandatory for thrash fans. Ya gotta buy this, that way maybe someone will re-release 'Eternal Nightmare' so I can get it, as I do not have the milliontrillion dollars needed to get a copy off of ebay. Oh yeah, and the added on 'Torture Tactics' ep isn't anything too exciting, but it's a decent bonus. 'Torture Tactics' is a solid song, though definitely not as good as the better songs on 'Oppressing the Masses'. 'Gutterslut' also deserves some credit because although I generally dislike songs that are just meant to offend, and it trys a bit too hard I can't help but have a soft spot for a song meant to infuriate crazy feminazis and hyper PC male panzies. And, the repeated chant 'Slut!Slut!Slut!Slut!' is pretty funny, I gotta admit.