Overall Score: 8.5/10 Songwriting: 9/10 Vocals: 7/10 Speed: 9.5/10 Pros: Great if you like your thrash as old school as it comes and every musician is on point Cons: Might feel a little too dated for some
Vio-lence. The name says it all. You want neck-breaking thrash metal about the darker sides of life? To feel like Slayer never went away? Then this is your band.
Originally formed in 1985, this Bay Area quintet has established a solid reputation for peeling faces. After lead singer Sean Killian recovered from a rather severe illness and guitarist Phil Demmel left Machine Head, things started to move in the appropriate motions for the band to reform circa 2019 after a lengthy hiatus.
Never being one for chest beating and pompousness, Demmel went to Brian Slagel at Metal Blade and told them they wanted to do an EP. Let The World Burn is 5 tracks of pure unfiltered thrash metal that sounds like Vio-lence never went away, drummer Perry Strickland is not pulling any punches; ex Overkill guitarist Bobby Gustafson equals the sonic assault and bassist Christian Olde Wolbers of Fear Factory fame keeps it all together.
If opener Flesh From Bone doesn’t have you at least nodding your head then you’re clinically dead as it simply dwarves anything released by the other projects these musicians have been associated with. Screaming Always speeds along like a Formula One car with the band sounding tight.
Upon Their Cross is a softly spoken ballad, full of touching emotion. Just kidding, it locks into a heavy groove early on, with a pre-chorus that’s all diving whammy bars and tom-toms. If anything, the slight ease off on the accelerator probably makes this the heaviest track. Demmel does some of his best work here and has commented that he was able to record the solos how he wanted to as one long take, rather than dropping in and out, making them flow a lot better.
At three minutes 45 seconds, Gato Negro is the shortest track on the EP and seems to have been written solely for people to circle pit to. The title track comes straight from a band that sounds like the only reason they haven’t lit the match is so they can go out and play these songs live.
This is an absolute beast of an EP and Demmel has said the band are already working on the follow up, with the plan being to record more EP’s rather than full length albums in order to get out and play more shows. It’s a fine business model if they’re all going to be of this quality.
Let The World Burn is available now via Metal Blade Records.
For more information on Vio-Lence, like their official page on Facebook.