Vio-Lence – Let the World Burn (EP Review)

Vio-Lence – Let the World Burn
Released: 4 March 2022

Line Up:

Sean Killian // Vocals
Phil Demmel // Guitar
Bobby Gustafson // Guitar
Christian Olde-Wolbers // Bass
Perry Strickland // Drums



When Phil Demmel left Machine Head there were collective gasps of horror that this talented guitarist would be lost to the metal world. But those fears were put aside as Phil and Sean Killian reunited Vio-lence. Best of all? This isn’t just a few live shows, we now have brand new music from the Bay Area band whose original time was brief but whose legend has grown in their absence. It’s a new band too, with Christian Olde-Wolbers (ex-Fear Factory) and Bobby Gustafson (ex-Overkill) bringing the pedigree of their respective experience to this new experience of Vio-lence.   

‘Flesh from Bone’ is a sign built on the chassis of classic thrash, with all the hallmarks of staccato riffing and menacing screaming vocals. It slows down a little in the middle, which gives drummer Perry Strickland time to let loose with the fills, before Demmel lets loose a screeching solo. ‘Screaming Always’ is your full on thrasher, with Killian living up to the title. It has a more old school Show No Mercy sound before a melodic interlude slows it right down into a headbanging section that will slay live. To mix things up Killian gets an acapella section that erupts into speed again. ‘Upon the Cross’ is different, a little slower in tempo from the start, so it is more thunder than lightning. It’s a real headsmasher that grinds out its five minute run time. There’s some cool backing vocals stuff in the last section, that shows off a more progressive side without being prog. 

‘Gat Negro’ is the shortest track on the EP and kicks off with flying fists and hairwhips. Hell yes this is the kind of stuff that would revive the dead and get blood pumping through your veins again. The title track, ‘Let the World Burns’, feels like a tease. After 20 odd minutes it is a barnstorming thrash anthem describing an apocalyptic nightmare. It’s taking no prisoners this time. Then it abruptly stops and slows down with Killian’s deep throaty speaking voice echoing through headphones and across the wasteland. It’s genuinely thrilling, as is the breakneck solo that Demmel unleashes. It builds to a frantic finish that leaves you ready for another 5 or so tracks. Shoutout to producer Juan Urteaga (Machine Head, Exodus), and mixer Tue Madsen (Dark Tranquillity, Heaven Shall Burn) who help the band sound clear, present and dangerous. 

Let the World Burn is a lesson in true Vio-lence. It’s hard and fast and whilst there are slower and even melodic moments, none of it distracts from the fact this is A-grade thrash. They sound as vital and energetic as they did more than 30 years ago and quite frankly, I can’t wait for more music from this crew. 

Vio-Lence – Let the World Burn tracklisting:

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

Score: 9 / 10
Let the World Burn is out now via Metal Blade Records. Listen here.
Review by KJ Draven (Twitter and Instagram