Some may be too young to remember a bunch of defiant youngsters from the Bay Area who etched their names in the DNA of the thrash metal genre back in the late 80s/early 90s but VIO-LENCE are back and arguably better than ever.
The pandemic has been an unfortunate thorn in the side of many of their plans but guitarist Phil Demmel is just excited to see the resurgence all these years later. “The reunion was all put in motion by Sean [Killian, vocals]. There was a couple of benefit shows put on for him to help him get through his sickness and he really felt the need to get back into it and start doing shows again. He wasn’t able to take part in the Killian On Command show, he was there, just unable to sing. He saw that I had just quit MACHINE HEAD and thought it would be ideal to get me back on board.”
Phil, Sean and Perry [Strickland, drums] were part of the core original lineup, they have since recruited veterans Bobby Gustafson and Christian Olde Wolbers into their ranks to make their offering stronger than ever. Whilst Phil admits that their style wasn’t always to everyone’s tastes, the die-hard fans are more than welcome to witness their return. “We’ve always been a band that was kinda like 50/50. You know, people loved us or hated us and I think the vocals were always the tipping point. I’ve always loved Sean‘s vocal style and I love them even more all these years later. I think it’s what sets us apart from other bands as it’s quite unique. It’s really cool that people are caring all this time later. I joke about it a lot that if everybody was into us back then like they are now we probably wouldn’t have broken up. It was quite a small window in the grand scheme of things but it’s neat to see all these genuine reactions and the internet and social media has really helped. You don’t have to rely on a label or whatever magazine was cool at the time to be able to get that word out for you.”
VIO-LENCE released Let The World Burn earlier this month to a rapturous response from the old guard and new listeners alike. The EP is like a powderkeg of explosive energy and certainly leaves a lasting impression and a rather poignant take on how the world has descended into chaos in recent years. It looks like they have no intention of stopping there either. “I won’t get into Sean‘s lyrics too much as he holds them pretty near and dear,” explains Phil. “I don’t want to misrepresent his vision but what’s happened over the last few years has been very difficult for everyone, everything feels really divisive now and in turn, it’s brought a lot of emotions to the forefront. I don’t see us writing a full-length record any time soon. This EP was enough of a taste of everything we have got to offer right now and I think that is where we are the most effective. We don’t want to put songs out there which are subpar for the sake of it. I went over every note, every lick, every drum fill this time round and I want to have that opportunity with future material to make sure that it’s perfect and I have no regrets. I want our music to punch you in the face and leave you thinking ‘what the fuck was that?!’ I want to be excited about it and believe in what I’m playing. One thing that has really been awesome is that there is such a good response for every song on this record. There’s not like one glaringly obvious ‘runt of the litter’ that hasn’t been received as well. It’s been a real mixed bag which is great. I’m actually working on new material right now. I’m going to meet up with Perry later on this afternoon to work on that and get ready for some shows we have coming up.”
Phil is a man of many talents and his wealth of experience has become a reliable asset to many bands who have encountered unforeseen circumstances that have threatened to derail their touring operations. “VIO-LENCE has been a big part of my life but it’s not my only thing. I just got home from doing three weeks with OVERKILL, I’ve filled in for LAMB OF GOD and I’ve kind of been all over the place so the band hasn’t really been together that much since the recording. We’re really ready to get back out there and play some shows. I’ve wore this badge proudly for nearly 40 years so I’ll definitely want to be a part of everything that I can but it’s not always about the money you know? We just want to do some fun shows and do what is comfortable for us, play some places we’ve not played before and play with some cool bands. The record is out and people are digging it so we are just going to see what happens. We’ve not played the UK yet so it’s kind of a big deal for us. We’ve been waiting to play Bloodstock since 2019 so we can’t wait!”
Let The World Burn is out now via Metal Blade Records.
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