Demolition Hammer - Epidemic Of Violence
Century Media
Brutal Thrash Metal
9 songs (39:33)
Release year: 1992
Demolition Hammer, Century Media
Reviewed by Ben
Archive review

Shiiiiiiiiiit, it used to be that Demolition Hammer were one of thrash metal's best kept secrets. In seemingly small and hushed circles this album was known as brutality personified to a select few rabid metal fans. Epidemic Of Violence is a rare album which straddles the line between thrash metal and death metal. When it was released in 1992, post-grunge explosion, and at the complete ass end of the thrash age, it just kind of pulled a bottle rocket and fizzled out. The album went out of print and was relegated to "lost gem" status much like Defender's They Came Over The High Pass. This hasn't been the case though since the late 2000's. During the "thrash attack revival" of 2007, once former underground stalwarts such as Demolition Hammer and Morbid Saint have been basically re-discovered by a whole new generation. Because of the renewed interest by a legion of fresh faced fans they're actually active right now in the year of our Barbara Walters, 2020.

So what makes this album worthy of all the praise that it seems to unanimously receive? This is pure anger in auditory form. Vocals are scathing. There is no technique on display here other than raw, primal, throat shredding visceral rage. The fact that there is much clarity to the lyrics being screamed at you make this even more hateful than the gruntiest of the grunts in A flat tuning. Guitars are thick and full yet have a sharp and rusty edge to them, and the drums, THE DRUMS. If anything, above all else, Epidemic Of Violence is the finest example of the power that a real human drummer brings to the table. The skinsman name is Vinny Daze and it sounds like he is standing on his feet and literally beating his snare drum as hard he can with as much force as he can bring down. Bar trivia should include the question: "How many drumheads did this dude go through while recording?" I have never heard anything as bad ass as this dude's drumming in almost all my years of listening to metal. Within thirty seconds of hitting play on this album he has you running for cover from his deadly assault.

The term "buzzsaw" riffs keeps getting thrown around to describe the guitars, but that's not quite right on the nose for what I'm hearing. "Buzzsaw" just doesn't sound like it has enough heft to it. A fly "buzzes" you. Your phone "buzzes" when it vibrates. This is more like a four foot, deeply voiced CHAINSAW that's used to carve up the skeletons of shitty old cars. Pyroclastic Annihilation is a bonafide riff fest about a volcano exploding ala Mt. St. Helen (Not that one song by that EDM guy). From about the three minute mark on there are shifting riff sections accented by a battery fire of double bass. At loud volumes this album sounds like a warzone with the double bass sounding like actual machine gun fire. Again, NO CPU TRICKERY HERE! Because this straddles the line of thrash and death, the violent sounding instruments have just enough breathing room to show off their razor sharp intent. There's not an "evil" atmosphere, there's nothing "spooky." This is anger and destruction. Subtlety consists of hitting drums harder, or playing riffs angrier, or screaming louder. Halfway through the album there is a brief respite in the nonstop barrage with the segue instrumental Orgy Of Destruction. Clocking in at under a minute and consisting of a repeating drum and guitar loop, this honestly really does feel like an intentionally placed piss break for the listener. Following this is the speedy title track and then the last two numbers send Epidemic Of Violence off with a double shot of malicious vitriol. Aborticide closes the album with the same unrelenting aggression that Skull Fracturing Nightmare opened it with. If the opener grabbed your attention with its drumwork, then the concluding number has your attention focused on the guitars. Constantly moving riff lines propel the song forward at a reckless pace that is barely held together at the seams. Some re-issues of this album have some crappy sounding live tracks as bonus songs, but for all intents and purposes, Aborticide is the ideal way to stop this crazy ride the band took you on.

Like with every great band that manages to put out a scant handful of releases, I wish there were more than just three by Demolition Hammer. One of them doesn't even count really. This is sort of a hard album to recommend because it is almost too death metal for the so called "pizza thrash," and it isn't QUITE heavy enough for "hardcore" death metal guys. There aren't "wacky tracks" about zombies or skateboarding or why metal rules. Imagine death metal lyrics yelled by the angriest thrash guy ever. Epidemic is in E flat tuning, the same tuning that lots of *gasp* old school thrash and power metal bands use. Death metal is generally D Standard or lower. Lots lower. And to top it all off, this is waaaaay too extreme to serve as an "intro" to thrash if all someone has heard are Metallica so far in their metal journey. Epidemic Of Violence will appeal to that narrow range of thrash dudes who appreciate something heavier than usual fare, and death metal guys that like discernible vocals. Sometimes. This isn't funtime, white sneakers, Ninja Turtles thrash. Rather, it's intensely angry metal that is designed to give an adrenaline rush. And that is a bad ass rush.

Killing Songs :
Skull Fracturing Nightmare, Pyroclastic Annihilation, Omnivore, Aborticide
Ben quoted 89 / 100
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