Yes this is indeed the same *Vio-lence *with which *Machine Head *mainman Robb Flynn earned his stripes all those years ago. This reissue compiles their two 1989 and 1991 EPs to probable fanfare from those members of the metal community still nurturing their precious, long scraggly hair after the storm of ostentation that was nu-metal.
Although originally disbanding in 1993 with Flynn going onto subsequent success with Machine Head - and incidentally crafting one of the last truly classic metal albums of the nineties with _‘Burn My Eyes’ _- Vio-lence were a band that capitalised on the Bay Area thrash metal scene throughout the late 80s. They stood alongside such local luminaries as *Metallica, Possessed, Death Angel *and tour buddies *Testament *in implementing some of the most sonically brutal, airtight guitar playing of the time.
_‘Oppressing The Masses’ _(1989) subsequently opened the eyes of many of their contemporaries upon its release and resulted in the video for _‘World In A World’ _being shown infrequently on MTV’s Headbanger’s Ball. Although memorable for its fans-eye view of a mosh-pit during its visual performance the song, in retrospect it also comes off like an overblown lesson in fret-burning guitar riffery with some pretty poor vocals from frontman Sean Killian.
But while the guitar interplay between Flynn and second guitarist Phil Demmel does exemplify some astoundingly proficient riff-welding together with some sweltering solos in tracks like ‘Engulfed By Flames’, the songs themselves seemed tarnished when juxtaposed against Killian’s scream-less *Obituary / Tom Araya *style. Still, that didn’t stop them touring Europe with *Alien Sex Fiend *in 1989, even if poor tour management meant a premature return home.
_‘Torture Tactics’ _(1991), comprising the second half of the disc, is a much more intense thrash-based onslaught that saw their songwriting take on a more threatening and physically brutal form. With enhanced production its four tracks were to propel them to the forefront of the Bay Area scene, ensuring a healthy fanbase that would take them into a broader spotlight. And for those who already have this recording, Megaforce have included two bonus tracks that were originally left off the _‘Oppressing The Masses’ _EP. How thoughtful of them.
The very prospect of these EPs being reissued will undoubtedly have diehard Machine Head fans and all-round metal geeks salivating uncontrollably over their limited edition Testament tour jackets, but while these recordings are indeed a crucial insight into Flynn’s early songwriting they are far from classic, and should probably remain within the hallowed dusty vaults alongside other such late 80s/90s heavy metal efforts.
4Mat Hocking's Score