We The People...?
Review by Carl on August 25, 2020.
For me personally, the biggest selling point of this album was the fact that this band featured C.O.C. vocalist Karl Agell, but I've got to admit that their punky sounding band name also played its part in me picking this up. I've always had one leg in punk and the other in metal since I was 12. If punk metal is your bag then School of Violence will not disappoint you.
The band has constructed their sound out of the noises brought forth by such ruffians as Discharge, Venom, Broken Bones and Motörhead. This sturdy base is fleshed out by the metallic riffing, clearly inspired by the more ballsy speed metal bands like Exciter, Whiplash and early Carnivore, and in album closer 'Marionettes' I even hear the influence of Dead Kennedys seeping through, something I can certainly appreciate. The band doesn't focus on extreme speed like their colleagues Cryptic Slaughter or early D.R.I. did, but have a more thudding, primal approach to their music. The influences of both hardcore punk and speed metal are well balanced out and the album sounds as a whole. In a genre like this you have your fair share of bands that sound like they don't know what style to pick, but S.O.V. steer well clear of this, sounding coherent while they're doing it. The music is highlighted by the gruff and heavy production, sounding powerful with the right gritty sound to it, making the band sound exactly the way this sort of music is supposed to sound. The only thing I'd would like to say is that the guitars could have been a little louder in the mix because at times they get overpowered by the drums. Another thing I'd like to point out is that Agell's vocals can get somewhat tiresome towards the end of the album. The man has a somewhat limited range and employs a gruff delivery, reminding me of Sheer Terror's Paul Bearer, and it's hard to keep this interesting throughout. These points aside, what we have here is a pretty pounding punk metal platter that I often play when I need a shot of no-nonsense music.
This is an album that can easily hold its ground in the current wave of black/thrash/speed metal that is so popular these days and I can recommend this album to all who are into stuff like Toxic Holocaust, Inepsy, Whipstriker and others like that. It's perhaps not the greatest album ever, but it sure as hell delivers the goods in style.
Rating: 7.5 out of 1098