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If you formed a thrash band in Germany way back in the mid-80’s, you definitely had to face some major competition. Who knows where those kids took all that brutal aggression and energy from – maybe it was the beer. Despite not being great musicians at all, they managed admirably to define an own attitude and sound, differentiating completely from the rest of subgenre scenes anywhere else. So many amateur acts emerged; a few quickly became popular among the underground scene and signed a record deal, while others were soon overshadowed by the big shots, languishing in obscurity helplessly. Violent Force honestly tried to make a name for themselves in their home country highly-competitive thrash league, though their one and only album released to date made clear they weren’t among the hottest, fittest or strongest acts of the movement – soon extinction approached.
Teutonic mid-80’s thrash, so you know what to expect…or maybe not. Those who waited to find shattering riffs and ultra-fast beats might feel disappointed with the sobriety and flatness on “Dead City”, which eludes completely the trademark German thrash viciousness and lunacy. Riffs are punkish and there’s double-bass, but the song has little to offer in many aspects – not just technically and musically (you saw that coming), but in terms of rage and vitality. A methodology alike determines the focus and confusing perspective on “Destructed Life”, this one however, incorporates a more exhausting chorus and a considerably overextended solo that is only getting more and more incoherent. Plenty of average thrash here, you see – on “M.A.O.T.” relying on the same dull, untouched riff layout and lazy structures, complemented with a couple of decent solos, at least. Even on the quickest sections on the hyperactive attempt on “Vengeance And Venom”, music still doesn’t burn or punch. It might be the more detailed arranging or the Mille & co. ’85 habits they steal on “Sign Of Evil” which makes the sound formidable and competent for a second against all odds, yet the instant inspiration and enthusiasm soon disappear without a trace – easy come, easy go. Surprisingly, Violent Force sound more compelling when they slow down the tempos, like saving the best riffs for “What About The Time After” and the homonym track, which display certain grace and fluidity the rest of tunes elude – indeed, still clumsily arranged with some starts and stops out of place and ineludible goofs exposed, but still executed more correctly than usual. So this stuff is pretty direct overall, regardless of the overlong opening riffing (with that “Chemical Warfare” intro-like predictable accenting) on “S.D.I.” and “Soulbursting” intending to add certain dexterity, most of the time the group bangs away at full-throttle without caring much for riff and song-structure variability, bridges or breaks, rhythm changes or assorted arrangements at all.
It’s an honest effort but with so many compatriots doing great records at the time, Violent Force needed more than generic formulas, mean looks and dommy lyrics to survive. Unlike Deathrow’s, the performance is too abrupt, standing on auto-pilot mode so excessively not even a truly frenetic double-bass tempo makes it worth headbanging to. Lemmy’s voice isn’t doing any better, too orthodox and stuck on a typical mid-range – despite a couple of raspy shouts and charmingly modulated swearwords, singing the stereotypical verses without much conviction or attitude. While his and Stachel’s lines fail to define an uncharacteristic sound, using riffs of identical conception during the whole record, primitively. There’s no real transgression, substantial alternative guitar or vocal tuning, no intention to make structures at least prolific and heterogeneous – they’re not working hard enough to deliver solos that wouldn’t just shred in vain either. So the record turns into a big disappointment, no matter how aggressive and feverish the music gets – the climax remains forced and lifeless. Actually, those tracks on which Atomic Steif is playing are the most decent, with this guy pushing the band to perform rougher and faster. His ability and technical capacity stands out from Hillebrand’s and the rest of band members, significantly – sticking in some incredibly precise double-bass kicks, which make riffs in contrast sound soulless and pallid. No spectacular fills or rolls, but for this level his playing is way more solvent and proficient than expected, making Witchhunter and Ventor sound like amateurs anytime. So you get the picture, if a thrash group can only rely on drums, wall of sound will very likely crumble down resoundingly – as guitars are naturally supposed to be the undisputed driving force, motivating and challenging the rest, something these here ain’t doing.
Malevolent Assault Of Tomorrow was soon left behind as the Teutonic movement quality levels improved, no longer a Venom-Celtic Frost-Motörhead clone, getting also rid of noisy riffs, over-the-top squealing vocals and uncontrolled beats. Yet it seems with time, particularly ever since the retro-thrash idiocy exploded, Lemmy & co. had eventually gained certain recognition and cult-status. Certainly, this sounds much more sincere and listenable than any of the subgenre shit these days, but for a 1987 German thrash album, it still lacks so much substance, charm and spontaneity. Anyway, hats off to Atomic Steif for his stellar drumming here, thumbs-down to the rest of the guys.
28 years have passed since the release of "Malevolant Assault of Tomorrow" and I still do not know what went wrong with this promising project called Violent Force. The guys showed up at the right time (during the mid-eighties) at the right place (North Rhine-Westphalia, the epicenter of the German thrash metal scene). Their debut combined surprisingly mature songwriting with a large portion of aggression. In view of this, I thought that Violent Force would be the next big thing, at least in Germany. But I was wrong. The band never released a further album, although some of its members recorded another full-length in 1989. With regard to all these useless releases of a lot of less talented metal bands, I really have no adequate explanation for that.
Be that as it may, "Malevolant Assault of Tomorrow" deserves a place of honour in the pantheon of German thrash metal. It was far away from the rumbling debuts of bands such as Kreator or Sodom while offering a different, yet equally effective sound adventure. The band was technically competent and did not need to hide behind its US-American competitors. Sharp riffs met energizing vocals while the intensely maltreated drums set the pace. You could use the label "Thrash with class" with full justification. Some of the compositions were slightly influenced by the punk movement that had taken place some years ago. Nevertheless, Violent Force performed more or less pure thrash metal. The moody homage to their hometown called Velbert opened the album. Due to its gripping bass line, this tune was a real earworm. The lyrics dealt with really big problems: "Silly poppers running wild / Keep on smiling like a child". Overwhelming poetry! But the band also wrote about more serious topics, for example Ronald Reagan´s "Strategic Defense Initiative", one of his superb ideas during his presidency.
The belligerent approach of the group was remarkable. Without neglecting technical refinement, the songs were clearly constructed and came straight to the point. This applied in particular to their short outbursts such as "Vengeance and Venom" that clocked in at 1:49 or "The Night". Additionally, they also offered thrash assaults with more melodic parts like "Destructed Life" or the courageous instrumental "What About the Time After?". Looking back, it almost seems like if they had known that they would not have many opportunities to release their material so that they offered the whole range of thrash on this output. But whatever they did, the result was amazing. I still appreciate each and every track of the record, especially the very intensive songs like "S.D.I." or the title track.
The album benefitted from its flawless sound that was transparent and aggressive at the same time. It was produced, recorded and mixed by Kalle Trapp who had already worked together with thrash squadrons such as Destruction and Assassin. The powerful drums sounded as clear as the bone-dry guitars and the bass was not sidelined. Lemmy´s energizing voice crowned the tunes in an amazingly good manner. As a result, the atmosphere of the songs perfectly matched with the title of the album. Just listen to the riffs at the beginning of "Soulbursting". They mark a prime example for musical malevolance until today. When all these aspects are taken into account, it remains a mystery to me why these guys from Velbert did not reach a similar status to that of bands like Holy Moses or Living Death. Atomic Steif, founding member of Violent Force and known, inter alia, from his collaboration with the two aforementioned groups, was well connected with some of the most important persons of the scene in Germany. Considering this background, I guess that Violent Force died a sudden death due to internal reasons. However, "Malevolant Assault of Tomorrow" is a milestone of German thrash metal and shows the very strong legacy of a young and restless band.
By 1987, German thrash metal was really anyone's game. Sodom, Destruction and Kreator had arrived, and classic albums in the genre had already unknowingly been issued, but even these bands were still ascending, developing their chops. Violent Force were formed pretty early on, in 1984, and after a series of demos, they managed to get this one album Malevolent Assault of Tomorrow released through the rapidly rising Roadrunner, before writing and recording a second (unreleased) album and disappearing in 1989. The band has recently reformed, after 20 years of vacancy, by guitarist Stachel and drummer Hille, but you have to wonder if it's really worth it...
The reason being that Malevolent Assault of Tomorrow, while not exactly terrible, was at best a composite of the band's more successful countrymen. You can clearly hear the Destruction and Sodom comparisons throughout, with a dash of Kreator and also some Tankard delivered in the no frills attitude, and certainly Slayer. The problem is that Violent Force just don't write songs as strongly as those other names. There is plenty of punchy atmosphere to the guitar riffing, and snappy drums that set a similar stage to a Sentence of Death, Agent Orange or Pestilence's Malleus Maleficarum. Vocalist Lemmy (not the one you're thinking of) lends an adequately aggressive element, his tone somewhere between Tom Angelripper, Tom Araya and Gerre, and the production of the album is deceptively dated.
If you hate old thrash recordings, you're unlikely to change your mind with the sound here, but if you enjoy the Teutonic touch of the mid-80s, it's honestly rather timeless. The drawback is that the songs just don't seem to hitchhike the attention span as violently as the other German works of 1986-1987. Little of the tireless, juvenile and jovial thrust of a Zombie Attack. None of the blitzkrieg barbarity of a Pleasure to Kill. Clinical, cold riffs that don't quite measure up to the scalpel slicing of Sentence of Death or Infernal Overkill. There are some raucous, rowdy pieces like "Vengeance and Venom", "Soulbursting" and "The Night" that send shivers of rusted, brutal antiquity down the spine of the genre's connoisseur, but the actual notation seems average, fuel only for the viral speed and exploding leads. A few tracks like "S.D.I." and the instrumental "What About the Time After" fare better, with more adventurous musicality, but even these become only vaguely distinct against the far better efforts of the period.
I'd note that there are actually two drummers on this album, Jurgen Hillebrand and Atomic Steif. The latter plays on only a few tracks, but would see more success in bands like Living Death, Holy Moses and Sodom. Lemmy and Steif would also join forces in another band called Sacred Chao, which was little more than a short lived exodus of several Living Death members. Otherwise, the rest of the Violent Force lineup has been pretty quiet in the metal realm, with Malevolent Assault of Tomorrow settling largely into the dust of obscurity (with a limited 2007 remaster and re-issue). I've not heard that remaster, but I can only recommend this to the most passionate of German thrash fans. The songs here go a long way towards evoking nostalgia for the style and place, but unfortunately they just don't have the lasting impact you expect from the Big Three, or other bands like Tankard, Holy Moses, Vendetta and Deathrow.
In Germany in the 80s the thrash/speed metal bands arose like mushrooms everywhere. We all know the most important ones, but beside those ones, we must also mention other, almost unknown realities back in those days. The thrash metal virus contaminated almost every single band that wanted to play hard and fast. This Violent Force is a band that published just one album in their career, after several demos. The things were harder for them because probably they were not so lucky, but their strength brought them to achieve the goal of releasing a full-length.
Their style, as I said, is a fast thrash that more than once can be seen as speed too. The influences can come from abroad in terms of thrash metal, like Exodus and old Overkill but there’s something reminiscent of the german thrash/speed style and a band like Living Death. If the first track is on continue up tempo and fast bass drum parts, the following “Soulbursting” shows some melodies by the guitars but the violence remains high, as well as the speed. The up tempo parts are brutal and the guitars solos are simply adjoins of brutality through lots of tremolo pickings.
The vocals are raspy, with a strong German accent on them like it’s meant to be for a band like this. The sheer brutality of the riffs and the drums on “Vengeance and Venom” is reminiscent of early Pestilence too, with the schizophrenic patterns of early Kreator. The bass is always pounding behind the wall of sound created by the intense, always fast drumming and the relentless work by the guitars. Everything is getting faster and faster and we cannot chill out even for a second. “M.A.O.T.” welcomes us with a screamed refrain and always damn fast parts.
The production is not the best one because it’s old fashioned but I’ve always said that I liked this style and I’m here to confirm it once again. By the way, there’s not a lack of heaviness due to the production. The various thrash styles by this band are good and we can pass easily from the canonical speed/thrash, to a brutal one to return to normal thrash patterns. I think that the first mid-paced parts come with the beginning to “What About The Time After” where the band generally is calmed down for few minutes; then we return to speed. With “Sign of Evil” we return to the past where the thrash and speed line was thin and actually very good.
The title track is more bound to death/thrash again and “The Night” follows the same style with two minutes of at the speed of light solos, up tempo parts and crunchy, hyper fast riffs. Here can notice some more hardcore components like in old D.R.I. and Cryptic Slaughter. “Destructed Life” is thrasher is style again with some more mid-paced sections and a sad solo too by the middle! The final “S.D.I.” shows some galloping riffs by the beginning to be again on total speed going on. Overall, coming to the end of my review, this is a worthy album. It’s not the best you could find at the time but it’s remarkable for the way they mix several kinds of fast music and for the way they were angry…good work!
"Malevolent Assault Of Tomorrow" by Violent Force is sadly one of the most underrated german thrash metal albums. They sound a lot like Kreator in most of the songs, but this is not a rip-off band!
Starting with the production, wich could be better of course, but still is not annoying and you can hear every instrument relatively clear. It sounds a lot better than most of the other german thrash albums of those years. So the production is not a problem.
The whole album is actually solid, except the first song, "Dead City" wich is strongly motorhead-influenced. Not a bad song, but surely not the highlight of the album. It seems like a song from another band that was on the album by mistake! The rest of the album is surprisingly amazing. Lightning-speed aggressive riffs, some melodies/solos here and there (you can't claim it is a melodic album though! just the right ammount of melody to make the songs more rich), and a very agressive voice! You could say Lemmie's voice isn't such great on its own, but his vocals really fit into the songs, and (most important) are full of passion! You can really feel the hate inside him when he sings.
Generally it is one of the most aggressive albums in classic thrash metal, it deserves to be far more known than it is. Highlights : Soulbursting, Vengeance And Venom, Violent Force, and the ultimate thrash hymn Sign Of Evil. Essential for every true thrasher.
The Kama Sutra teaches us that there are a great many ways to please a man. This is not one of them. Being generic, bad and not knowing what kind of thrash are some of the bad habits that Violent Force possesses. Might just as well be the reason this is their only distributed release. As Thamuz wrote, it’s inconsistent as well. The guitars sound German… However there are a lot more leads than we usually get. Riffs range from Kreator rip-offs to a mellower variant. They never get close to the melodious ones of Vendetta’s or the tense, vibrating power of Exodus’. But they tend to have a lot of the raw aggression of Kreator’s, just to drop all the feeling they carry and become indifferent tapping of strings that sure show some musical skill but no concentration when writing songs…
And guitars aren’t the sole inconsistent element either. The drums are at certain points played with a frantic fury that one just can’t deny. Then the drummer loses all inspiration as well and we get some bland, almost monotonous moments. The opening song, Dead City, is a great start, thoroughly influenced by Motorhead. The bass is great on this song too, with its distorted sound in the start and later leaps and rhythms. Then, unfortunately, all the Kreator worship is pumped in. Somehow the “Kreator part” is much less inspired, much less tight. It’s like they wrote the first song, thought it’d be great then starting to rip off their idols to fill up the rest of the space. Mistake. BIG mistake.
Then we have the vocals. Doing thrash vocals is a hard job and Violent Force’s own Lemmie obviously failed. He has the usual German accent and ok, it’s hard to do anything about I guess. Doing these pointless screams and yelling vocal lines faster than you can pronounce them is a bad idea though. He stumbles on his words, and well, he hasn’t got much of a voice either. A range that could be measured with a centimetre ruler isn’t much to brag with. He shouts his lines and as eager as he is to start shouting the next line, he increases the pitch, ending up sounding breathless rather than having an attitude.
What is there to say, really. There isn’t a solid thing about this album. Not even the production is solidly bad, it switches from decent to very bad, hiding away the guitars and vocals when you’d like to hear them the most. The production, the music, the entire album switches from raw to polished. From good to bad too. It’s just unbalanced and inconsistent. Pretty much another 80’s release to ignore.
The sole full-length by one of the lesser known German thrash bands, Violent Force, is quite a hit and miss affair. There are moments of sheer head-banging joy, and then there are some moments where you’ll find yourself shaking your head as if you were following a game of ping-pong back and forth from side on.
The sound is quite typical of the German scene of the 80s, meaning it is very raw and not so geared towards melody as some of their American counterparts of the era were. One major discrepancy that can be noticed is the songs are inundated with leads and solos, something that isn’t so common to many Thrash bands. This does get obnoxious at times, as many of the leads a similar in sound, causing a sense of monotony and tedium.
Some of the riffs are really quite good, with traces of punk-like flair, combined with the rhythmic energy that epitomises the Thrash genre. Probably the best example of this is in the opener ‘Dead City’ where the distorted bass intro leaps into a lively riff with the obvious flair and simplicity of punk entangled in the sheer intensity of thrash. You must at this point begin to bang your head, or face being looked down upon by those who did. Sadly though, these riffs aren’t in enough abundance for this to be considered a classic and it is really disappointing that the band is so inconsistent with their song writing when they are clearly capable of much more.
The closest comparison of the band to another can be denoted to Kreator. The band is capable of stringing together the aggressive riff-structures that Kreator made famous. Yet, this similarity to Kreator is also their biggest downfall. The band doesn’t really tap into an exclusive sound that they can truly call their own. At times the band plays some really generic and bland riffs that seem fast for the purpose of being fast and are merely only one or two rough chords put together. These lifeless incarnations are often repetitiously used, and in some instances an entire song will only consist of no more than two or three of these bland riffs with the addition of the over-use of monotonous leads as aforementioned. It is on these occasions the band sounds like a third-rate Kreator clone mixed with a wannabe shred Metal band. A mixture that reminds me of the time I tried soda on my cereal…
The band is also at times let down by a poor production, subsequently taking the punch and clarity out of the guitar tone. This isn’t always a problem, but there certainly are times where more time could have been spent getting the production right.
The inconsistency of this CD is probably enough to keep potential fans away, but there are also a couple of gems on here, and the random scattering of great riffs amongst the debris. I can certainly think of worse ways to spend an afternoon, such as playing ‘kiss chasey’ with a dozen two hundred pound females with noses the size of baseballs. But, you could also be banging your head to the real thing, being Kreator of course.