Synopsis by Nathan Southern
The city on the bay's thrash metal band Vio-Lence traces its genesis back to the late '80s, when ace guitarist Robb Flynn left Forbidden and hooked up with several contemporaries: vocalist Sean Killian, fellow guitarist Phil Demmel, bassist Dean Dell, and drummer Perry Strickland. The group exploited the visceral end of the genre, heightening thrash's unbridled rage and aggression, and hoisting it well above musical craftsmanship on the priority scale. Vio-Lence officially debuted in 1988, with the Mechanic EP Eternal Nightmare, and continued to broaden its fan base with 1990's well-received Oppressing the Masses, 1991's Torture Tactics, and -- after an eight-year hiatus -- 1999's Nothing to Gain. Now, highlights from the group's 18 years can be relived time and again in the 2006 home-video issue Vio-Lence: Blood and Dirt. As a compilation effort, this release is actually comprised of two halves. The first, a 90-minute documentary overview of Vio-Lence's history, covers its rise to the top of the thrash scene, from Eternal Nightmare on -- packed with archival concert footage (much of it rare and never-before-released) and interviews with band members, fans, managers, and the like. The second half features extensive footage from three back-to-back Vio-Lence concerts: the complete "Thrash of the Titans" benefit concert, performed and shot in their home city of San Francisco in August 2001; half of the December 14, 2001, concert at Slim's in San Francisco, and one song each from the April 19, 2003 "420 Musik Conspiracy" concert in San Francisco and The Stone 1993. Numbers include "Kill on Command," "Phobophobia," "Ageless Eyes," and "Gutterslut." Group members have announced that Vio-Lence is officially disbanding, and that this will be the band's last release of any kind.