Who said Vio-lence achieves nothing?
After the amazing debut album Eternal Nightmare, many had high hopes for the sophomore release from one of the Bay Area's most intense live acts, Vio-lence. With a solid line up, a period of constant touring and a legion of devoted fans, the future was looking bright for the five piece act. Ironically, the title could not have been more apt. At the last minute, the label decided to suppress the release of the album with the song Torture Tactics on it. After an initial pressing was destroyed, the final eight track version was released. Torture Tactics would still find the light of day on the EP of the same name a few months later.
Opening with I Profit, this relentless thrash machine goes into overdrive as the album progresses to Subterfuge, World In A World and the brutal title track which ends it all. The production is a little drier than the debut but the gang vocals, screams and duel guitar attack of Phil Demmel and Robb Flynn are all as brutal as before. Also noticeable on this album is the input of Flynn's writing ability which was never showcased on their debut due to the timing of him joining the band. Once again, Sean Killian's vocals will be a point of contention for some. There's little doubt that his style is an acquired taste but then again so were the likes of John Connelly (Nuclear Assault) and Bobby 'Blitz' Ellsworth (Overkill). The bottom line is that Killian's vocal approach more than suited the metal mayhem going on behind him. Killian's style put Vio in a class of their own without doubt.
A lot of old schoolers will say that Eternal Nightmare is the definitive Vio-lence album. There's no doubt that it's an amazing album. But the song writing has definitely matured here for different reasons - consistent writing lineup, well toured and a better band cohesiveness. It's too hard to choose a standout track as there are too many here that just stick in your head with ease. If you've got this album, go listen to it again. Do it. If you don't have it, go track down the re-issue that also contains the Torture Tactics EP and you'll see what I mean.