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Vio-lence - "Let The World Burn" (CD/EP)

Vio-lence - "Let The World Burn" CD/EP cover image

"Let The World Burn" track listing:

1. Flesh From Bone
2. Screaming Always
3. Upon Their Cross
4. Gato Negro
5. Let the World Burn

Reviewed by on March 4, 2022

"'Let the World Burn' contains five well-structured and thrash-tacular sonic assaults that are sure to make the OG heshers happy and snag some fresh ears as well."

In the summer of 1988, I saw Vio-Lence live for the first time. To describe the mayhem that ensued that night would be a review unto itself. I was one of dozens of heshers in the circle pit for the majority of their set as they savagely plowed through the track list from “Eternal Nightmare,” their debut album. It was literally “bodies on bodies on bodies on bodies” by the time their set concluded that night. This was the most exciting of all the Bay Area thrash bands at the time - fight me if you don’t believe me.

Vio-Lence continued to refine their sound over the next few albums and EPs until 1993 when they split up attempting to make their fourth full-length. That’s also right about the same time when the metal genre as a whole was basically put to bed by a bunch of bands wearing flannels and Converse sneakers. Coincidence? I think not...

Without going into a full Vio-Lence band history lesson, I’ll fast forward to current events. Vio-Lence has recorded a new 5-song EP entitled “Let the World Burn” with new members in tow. Bobby Gustafson, formally of Overkill shredder fame on lead guitars and Christian Olde Wolbers (Powerflo/Fear Factory/Beowulf), has assumed the low-end duties. Sean Killian, Phil Demmel, and Perry Strickland continue to be the backbone of this historic Bay Area thrash machine.

The first track off the EP, “Flesh from Bone,” smacks you upside the head with the classic Vio-Lence sound within seconds. Sean Killian’s insane power and vocal nuances haven’t changed a bit after 30 years, give or take. Some of the musicianship has changed though; it has noticeably matured. The guitar solos are more structured and super clean compared to, let’s say, “Eternal Nightmare.”

The second track, “Screaming Always,” is upbeat and thrashy in the beginning but then slides into a groove that we’ve never really heard on a Vio-Lence recording previously. This is the maturity that I mentioned earlier and it works for them. Don’t fret, you can still stage dive to your heart's content.

“Upon Their Cross” is probably my favorite and the most downtempo of all the tracks. This song feels like it was supposed to be on “Oppressing the Masses” but never made the cut. This bruiser of a track is a circle pit accelerant and even an old fart like me could mosh to it without pulling a hammy or twisting a knee.

The most hectic of all the tracks happens to be the title track. “Let the World Burn” showcases why Perry Strickland's frantic beats are so indispensable in relation to the Vio-Lence meter. Speed and precision have always been a hallmark of the Vio-Lence sound and it is on full display here.

Vio-Lence is one of the last of Bay Area alma matter to finally record some new material after officially reforming. Was it worth the wait? If you ask me, hell yeah! “Let the World Burn” isn’t comprised of half-ass, let’s glue together some old riffs and hope for the best type of garbage. "Let the World Burn" contains five well-structured and thrash-tacular sonic assaults that are sure to make the OG heshers happy and snag some fresh ears as well.

Highs: The speed and prescision of riffage is still a hallmark for Vio-Lence

Lows: It's only a 5 song EP. A full album of material next time please!

Bottom line: Vio-Lence has returned with a hunger to reclaim their reputation of the most vicious band within the Bay Area thrash scene.

Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls
4.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)