Violence Unleashed is a side project formed in mid-2006 by Felix Schumacher, guitarist for the German death metal group Eradicate. Recruiting fellow Eradicate member Thomas Thede to handle vocals, Thomas Tretow from death-thrashers Sturm, and the incredibly talented Yanic Bercier from Canadian tech-deathsters Quo Vadis to round out the lineup, Schumacher wrote eleven tracks which were recorded for the project\’s 2007 debut SPAWNED TO KILL. While it may have been his initial intention to do something different from his main band\’s work, the album winds up sounding not too dissimilar from Eradicate\’s full-length efforts…which in turn are highly derivative affairs in and of themselves. Despite the band\’s mostly-German makeup, the style is one hundred percent American-style extreme death metal with two primary influences which can be identified within about two seconds of listening…namely Cannibal Corpse and, to a much lesser extent, Suffocation. If you don\’t like either one of those bands, you might as well stop reading right now.
Opener \”Destination: ?\” sets the stage for the whole album, opening with a guitar hammer-trill sounding exactly like what you\’d hear on any given Cannibal Corpse release before Bercier opens up his arsenal with a punishing blast-explosion and some superb fills, then bridges into a typical CC midtempo riff and the entry of vocals from Corpsegr….er, sorry, I mean Thede. Seriously, he sounds almost EXACTLY like George Corpsegrinder – same ultra-low growl, same howling higher screams, same delivery technique – which only makes the Cannibal Corpse comparison all the more obvious. This isn\’t to say the songs are bad…in fact, they\’re pretty darn good American-style death tunes with phenomenal drumming and tons of killer riffs…just extremely, EXTREMELY derivative. But then…there\’s the lead guitar. I had to go back and listen again the first time the lead break hit starting at about 2:48 into the opening cut just to confirm I wasn\’t hearing things. Unfortunately, I wasn\’t. For an album written by a guitarist, that has got to be the absolute worst production of solo guitar I\’ve ever heard…thin, weak, tinny, and abrasive aren\’t even close to adequately negative descriptions of the cutting-in-and-out, ultra-high pitch-squeals emerging from the speakers. Dogs four blocks away in my neighborhood were howling in pain with every lead break. I don\’t understand this at all – the rhythm guitars sound full, rich, deep, and clear – how can the leads POSSIBLY have come out this badly unless they were recorded at an entirely different time in a completely different environment? That said, if you\’re able to steel yourself for the leads or better yet ignore them entirely, you\’ll be treated to some pretty darn well-done Cannibal Corpse worship. Surprisingly catchy hook-laden riffs are on display in every track, there are plenty of sudden time shifts to keep the songs from becoming monotonous, the vocals are delivered with plenty of energy and conviction, the drumming is top-notch even if the bass drums sound a little too click-y, and how can you not like a song title like \”Brainless Zombie Wankers?\” Other highlights include the lurching menace of \”Spawned In Acidvats\” and the constantly-shifting tempos of \”Polyurthane Murderer.\” Closing track \”Crumbled To Dust\” provides an interesting bit of variety with death-whispered vocals and funeral-dirge slow and brutal riffs…or at least it would if I could tune out the hideously bad overlaid lead guitar lines that infest the verses.
SPAWNED TO KILL is, despite its flaws, a relatively fun album to listen to. It offers absolutely nothing new in terms of originality and is greatly marred by the horrible lead guitar production, but it\’s still worth a listen…although only for fans of Cannibal Corpse and similar bands who just can\’t get enough of the style.
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