Vio-Lence Oppressing the Masses/Torture Tactics

While Metallica recorded their crossover classic The Black Album and Testament slapped together their haphazard Souls of Black, Bay Area metal upstarts Vio-Lence released 1990’s promising Oppressing the Masses, a follow-up to their ’88 debut Eternal Nightmare. Megaforce Records’ distributor, megalabel Atlantic, forced the band to delete the track "Torture Tactics” due to "extreme lyrical content,” and the first 20,000 copies were destroyed. A year later, the cut was released on the four-song Torture Tactics EP with a different distributor, but Vio-Lence’s momentum was already being undermined by band infighting and mismanagement. Unfortunately, this double re-issue doesn’t hold up well to the ravages of time and taste, as most of the selections ("Officer Nice,” "Engulfed By Flames,” "Liquid Courage”) merely rehash the worst attributes of contemporaries Anthrax and Overkill. Front-man Sean Killian is unquestionably the weakest link here because he simply cannot keep up with the pace of guitarists Phil Demmel and Robb Flynn (the latter would find his fortune a few years later with Machine Head). "I Profit” and "World in a World” sport accomplished solos, but the remaining tracks are too monotonous to matter. Ultimately, Vio-Lence are a good reason to poke fun at ’80s metal. (Megaforce)