SEAN KILLIAN Talks VIO-LENCE Reunion, the Long Road Travelled since the Bay Area Thrash Sound First Rose to Prominence and The Blunt Honesty of their Upcoming EP: “I’m Not Gonna Compromise, I’m Not Gonna Hold Anything Back, And If Anyone’s Offended I Don’
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The thrash metal wave that took the West Coast of the United States by storm may have crashed down and receded with the onset of the 1990s, but you wouldn’t know it by how the original Bay Area sound has been continually cropping back up of late. While there is no shortage of new blood out there bring the old ways back to a new generation, one would be remiss to discount the veritable renaissance being enjoyed by the elder pioneers who originally forged this unique blend of heavy metal and hardcore punk into the ferocious beast that it became. Though arguably a tad late to the party both during the sub-genre’s original heyday and its subsequent rebirth, Vio-Lence has always been a highly auspicious wildcard in the thrash’s expansive deck, and few know that better than said band’s iconic front man Sean Killian.
Though their career might not have been as prolific as staple acts such as Testament, Exodus and Death Angel, Vio-Lence carved out a highly unique niche, fueled by a combination of technically charged guitar work played at break-neck speed and rustic punk influences courtesy of Killian’s intense and rambling snarls. As such, their seminal debut “Eternal Nightmare” and its more polished follow up “Oppressing The Masses” became staples of the style during the apex of thrash’s popularity, and even with the shifting of the commercial tides of the 1990s, they would manage to sneak in a more measured yet impressive swansong in 1993’s “Nothing To Gain” before all was said and done. Sadly the tale that would be told following the aforementioned studio LP trifecta was an all too common one, with the Vio-Lence name being retired and its various members drifting off to different projects.
“Let The World Burn” Album Artwork
While it has been the better part of 30 years since these unsung heroes of the Bay Area have fielded a studio album, they were anything but silent as the 2000s rolled in and thrash metal began to stir once more. Yet 2022 would be the year that this brilliant fold would unleash their namesake once more in the form of a five song EP dubbed “Let The World Burn”, coming soon to a streaming site and music outlet near you, and featuring a newly formed lineup of the band’s original crop and a few heavy hitters from outside California. In many ways, this upcoming onslaught of high octane, take no prisoners thrash metal after the heart of “Eternal Nightmare” marks the return to the old ways of none other than original Overkill axe-slinger Bobby Gustafon, whom along with former Fear Factory and Asphyxia bassist Christian Wolbers now rounds out the fold.
All of these were among the many memories and sentiments covered by Killian himself as Sonic Perspectives associate Jonathan Smith caught up with him earlier this month, recounted with a balanced flavor of solemnity and humor of course. The years may progress, but old thrash metal dogs work best when sticking to their established bag of tricks, and what Killian and company have cooked up for the starving, mosh-pit enthusiast masses is sure to conjure up some pleasant memories of when the style of music in question was the chief foil to the Sunset Strip craze. For more interviews and other daily content, make sure to follow Sonic Perspectives on Facebook, Flipboard and Twitter and subscribe to our YouTube channel to be notified about new interviews and contents we publish on a daily basis.