Formed in the San Francisco Bay Area in 1985, VIO-LENCE instilled themselves as groundbreakers of the second wave of thrash with their revered 1988 album Eternal Nightmare. Throughout ’88 and ’89, VIO-LENCE toured the album to great success alongside thrash comrades Testament, Voivod, Death Angel, Sanctuary, Nuclear Assault, D.R.I., M.O.D. and the Cro-Mags.
In ’89, Megaforce Records/Atlantic signed the band, leading to the release of the bands’ second album Oppressing the Masses (1990). The band toured the album to packed crowds alongside Overkill, Forbidden, Exodus, Flotsam And Jetsam, Defiance, Rigor Mortis and Prong.
In 1991,VIO-LENCEreleased their EP Torture Tactics and their third studio album Nothing to Gain, but
1993 brought the unfortunate break-up of the band, with some members splintering off to form Torque and Machine Head. Some 34 years later, and re-united at last as VIO-LENCE the band are ready to hit Australian shores for the first time and I literally chat to vocalist Sean Killian as he is sitting at the airport ready to board a flight to our side of the world.
“We’ve been trying to get to Australia for so long,” says Killian when I tell him he sounds very relaxed for somebody about to get onto an overseas flight. “All these things got the way COVID etc… but here I am finally ready to jump on a plane to your country and we are very excited… I can’t wait to get there myself. I’m not sure how much of the country we are going to see though because the shows are back-to-back so I will probably see the inside of my eyelids and the fans who come to the show.”
The fact that we are about to see VIO-LENCE in Australia for the first time is a miracle upon itself because after 34 years apart there was only one thing that could bring the band back together – mateship. “I was ill for a long time,” explains Killian. “I had to get a liver transport because I had a generic disorder that just popped up. I went through all that and the Bay Area fans came out and supported me and a bunch of guys put together a gig to raise money for me and my family and then they did another benefit show in San Francisco and after all that was done and I was back on the mend I started to think how can I pay these people back for everything that did and all I could think of was doing a show.”
“I remember I sent out a text saying that I was ready to go and they all responded with ‘are you sure, dude?’” he says laughing. “My surgery was March 26th and I contacted them all in the January of the next year and I was like well by April I will be four months more healed so lets do this. And we did – we played the show and then everything after that has been built off the back of that.”
As we continue to talk about what it was like getting VIO-LENCE back together Killian says it was an emotional time for him. “That very first show, there were like sixty people at the soundcheck, and I found myself starting to get really emotional,” he says. “Then with the actual show I was like ‘holy shit.’ There was all this intensity on the stage, and it felt like the old days – it was just a great experience. That has been my driving force for wanting to keep doing this because it is like a personal experience that we have with our fans. It is not just some rockstar band up there that are swinging dicks with all their egos it is this organic thing with us and the fans. We have this symbiotic relationship and that is what makes it so special.”
Seeing VIO-LENCE live is a very special thing so make sure you take the opportunity to see them while they are touring in Australia.