Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Vio-Lence - Oppressing the Masses (1990)
I swear, the 80's were a weird fucking time. If I had 1/2 a cent for each band that exceeded the rest in terms of guitar work and drumming yet for some ungodly and unknown reason insisted upon shuffling out some laughably horrendous vocalist out to the mic, I'd be swimming in a veritable sea of Twinkies and pineapple soda from here until the end of time.
I'll never forget the first time I heard the band's debut, 'Eternal Nightmare' sometime back in the late 80's. I remember thinking, "ok, the music's decent enough" and then the vocals began to emerge, and I couldn't help but think to myself that this was some sort of joke. I know that thrash has been enjoying a good deal of renewed interest as of late and I'm well aware that many of these folks fondly regard vocals such as these as being part of some sort of brilliant endeavor, well, did I mention that I'm also privy to the solid fact that the world is alarmingly populated with dumbfucks and dipsticks?
Oppressing the Masses is one of those unfortunate albums in the sense that, musically, the album fucking rocks. There's certainly no shortage of bad ass riffery or pattern arrangements to behold, but once those absurdly goofy vocals kick in, all else is tainted and instantly dumbed down as a result. This was one of the reasons why I could never truly get into Exodus' Bonded By Blood. Sure, over time I've actually been able to accept and even enjoy Paul Baloff's absolutely maniacal approach, but this guy here does not come across as threatening in the least bit and result is an annoying distraction that takes away from everything else.
In terms of riffage, I'd put this up against Metallica, Dark Angel and Overkill ANY day of the week. They may or may not come out on top but they're certainly capable of standing alongside any of those bands and holding their own. The production here by Alex Perialas is very similar, if not identical to that of Terry Date, giving the guitars that sheen that brought out the best in albums like 'Time Does Not Heal' and 'The Years of Decay'. Again, I can only wish that the band had employed the services of a more capable and menacing sounding vocalist instead of this goofball, but unfortunately they did not, so as a result, Vio-Lence is not a band that gets much play around these premises.