Ultra Violence are (for those who are un-initiated) a young Italian bunch of thrash-revivalists, who started out their career with their debut full length ‘Privilege to Overcome’ on the modern thrash pushing label Punishment 18, and now see their 2nd effort picked up by Candlelight Records.
As you might expect by their name, they seem to have a fixation on ‘The Clockwork Orange’ – just take a look at their artwork for either of their albums which both portray a close approximation of Alex and his droogs. However, soundwise they have a nice mix of various US thrashers, most notably Death Angel – who of course happened to release a thrash classic named ‘The Ultra-Violence’. Are you picking up on a theme here? Good. Well musically, there’s plenty more to get your teeth into. Apart from the crisp and crunchy production which adds severe beef to the metronomic guitar chugging, not a lot of modernism has been added to the band’s sound. ‘Deflect The Flow’ is rammed with decent old school thrashing of various paces, the slow burners of ‘Gavel’s Bang’ slowly judder your cool white underbelly, as ‘Lost in Decay’ tears at it mercilessly with razor sharp claws, disembowelling your still thrashing remains with regular gang vocals and (probably) white hi-tops and overly-tight jeans.
There’s touches of early Megadeth in the furious riffing of ‘Why So Serious’, with bounding bass to be heard throughout and the vocals addressing the listener directly with a ‘Good evening ladies and gentlemen, we are tonight’s entertainment!”, before going bonkers and trashing the place with riffs pull right out of Mustaine thrash 101. Good stuff indeed. ‘In The Name of Your God’ ups the pace to near extreme metal levels at times, before twisting back on itself with incessant chugging that’s sure to build bicep sized muscles on the wrists of anyone playing them.
I’ve got plenty of time for the newer thrashers, as after an iffy start there seems to be a good quantity of quality bands coming through the ranks over the past 10 years of the resurgence in particular. My main issue with the album is the same issue I’ve had with recent Death Angel and Exodus albums – the length. This clocks in over 52 minutes. I’m not sure about you good folks, but anything over 40 – unless spectacular – generally begins to test my concentration when it comes to thrash releases. It’s got to fit on one side of a C90! A short sharp shell-shocking smash should be the way as far as I’m concerned, rather than drawn out and epic affair. But maybe that’s just me. I won’t dwell on that as to be fair to these guys, they have the chops and song-writing to do good things for the scene.
Well worth a look if you fancy a gristly slab of thrash – the Ed Repka artwork is merely a bonus.
(7.5/10 Lars Christiansen)