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Thrash metal is alive and well – just listen to Vio-lence's furious comeback single, Flesh From Bone

Phil Demmel
(Image credit: Scott Dudelson/Getty Images)

San Fransisco thrash metallers Vio-lence have released their first new music in 29 years with new single Flesh From Bone.

Released via Metal Blade Records, the track arrives ahead of the Bay Area quintet's forthcoming EP, Let the World Burn – due March 4 – and finds Sean Killian and co deploying everything in their thrash arsenal, from frantic palm-muted electric guitar riffs courtesy of Phil Demmel and Bobby Gustafson to monstrous vocals from Killian.

The guitar work reaches a notable high point at the 3:09 mark when Demmel – who was Machine Head's lead guitarist from 2003 until 2018 – unshackles his rabid guitar chops for a face-melting near-minute-long solo packed with furious alternate picking lines and rapid-fire hammer-on/pull-off passages. Check it out below.

“This is the first Vio-lence song I had written in close to 30 years,” Demmel says. “I wanted to keep some of those early Eternal Nightmare [debut album, 1988] qualities intact but infuse a lot of what I've culled into my songwriting arsenal over the decades.

Flesh From Bone has the frenetic picking/fingering riffs and the solo trade-offs that are pretty old-school, and I'm also wearing my influences on my sleeve with a few Exodus- and Slayer-inspired riffs.”

“Flesh From Bone reflects on the true suffering of man during the dark ages of history,” adds frontman Sean Killian. “Laws and rules of people like Vlad the Impaler were not to be broken. If you did, your sentence would be impalement, or worse. To die in battle was to suffer.

“For 34 years, a creation called Eternal Nightmare has been making memories for people around the world. Now, it is time to create some new memories in 2022. I am very proud of the new music we created, and we are fortunate to have worked with some very creative people.

“[There's] nothing too polished here, unless fragments of glass and broken razor blades are what you consider polished. I love to create, and we hope your heads explode when you hear the new Vio-lence.”

Demmel spoke with Mark Kadzielawa of 69 Faces of Rock about the new EP in a recent interview.

“We had decided to write [some new material],” he said. “I didn't wanna do a full-length record. 10 tunes is just… I've got a baby at home. I've got a five-year-old who's just the highest of energies and exhausting. So my time is very valuable and I just don't have the time to write a full-length record. I just felt, let's take little baby steps with the band and see if we can write a couple of tunes – maybe do three or four. It ended up being a five-song EP.”

He continued, regarding the process of writing the EP: “Man, in the 16 years that I was in [Machine Head], it had thrash moments, but towards the end, there wasn't. And I had written thrash songs. I always have riffs, but it was exciting to… Fuck, [I'm writing an] all-out thrash song. 

“I wanted to capture some moments of Eternal Nightmare, and there are some signature Vio-lence sounds that I wanted to perpetuate and continue. But also, since I've been playing thrash for a bit too, my right hand has gotten a lot stronger. I'm playing the best that I've ever played. And so I'm pushing the riffs. 

“These aren't songs that you're picking up at Guitar Center and just playing in Guitar Center; they're pretty hard to play. I wanted to push everybody in that sense.”

Sam Roche

Sam is a Staff Writer at Guitar World, also creating content for Total Guitar, Guitarist and Guitar Player. He has well over 15 years of guitar playing under his belt, as well as a degree in Music Technology (Mixing and Mastering). He's a metalhead through and through, but has a thorough appreciation for all genres of music. In his spare time, Sam creates point-of-view guitar lesson videos on YouTube under the name Sightline Guitar.