Vio-Lence Reigns on the Strip: Outside of dedicated fans of thrash metal, Vio-Lence isn’t the first name that gets mentioned when discussions about the Bay Area thrash scene are taking place. Outside of the “Big Four” of Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer and Anthrax (none of which, incidentally, were from the Bay Area), the first “first wave” names that come up will be Testament and Exodus. Maybe Death Angel. Possessed, when discussing the links to the more extreme death metal.

And yet they should be one of the first. Besides the fact that Vio-Lence kickstarted the career of one Robb Flynn, who would go on to form second wave thrash giants Machine Head (and guitarist Phil Demmel was also in MH for a long time), their discography is fairly immaculate. The Eternal Nightmare 1988 debut, in particular, is a bonafide genre classic.

Today, Flynn is long gone from the ranks but Demmel is back. He’s joined by former Fear Factory bassist Christian Olde Wolbers, and standing tall at the front like a Satanic priest is singer Sean Killian.

Killian really is an imposing, underrated thrash frontman. He might not have the growl of other thrashers, including former bandmate Flynn, but there’s a sinister, unique bark to his delivery that puts him in a category all of his own. It also contrasts beautifully with the shit-eating grin spread across the face of renowned nice guy Demmel.

The crowd at the Whisky was right up for this show too. The opening bands that we caught — Fatal Prophecy and Violent by Nature — both received a far bigger and more rapturous reception than opening bands generally get at this venue. The latter ended with a GG Allin song, and the circle pit went insane. Fair play!

But Vio-Lence was a force of nature, from the opening title track of Eternal Nightmare, through brutal crowd faves like “Kill on Command” and “Phobophobia.” We got two songs from last year’s comeback Let the World Burn EP, and they ended with a bang, with “World in a World” from 1990’s Oppressing the Masses album.

Vio-Lence doesn’t have anything left to prove to anyone. But if their aim is to delight old thrashers, then job done!

(Brett Callwood)

Vio-Lence Reigns on the Strip

Vio‐lence Setlist Whisky A Go Go, West Hollywood, CA, USA 2023





















































































































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