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4.52 | 10 ratings | 2 reviews
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Album · 2000

Filed under Nu Metal


1. Make Your Own Bones (3:29)
2. Bleeder (3:29)
3. Same Solution (4:22)
4. For All the Sin (4:23)
5. Can't Wait for Violence (4:29)
6. Dead Like Me (4:12)
7. Blue Skin (4:18)
8. Filthy (4:49)
9. Hidden Hands (4:08)
10. American Love (3:17)
11. Everlasting Godstopper (5:04)
12. Piss & Vinegar (3:27)

Total Time: 49:33


- Matt Holt / vocals
- Tom Maxwell / guitar
- Bill Gaal / bass, programming
- Chris Houck / drums

About this release

TVT Records, September 5, 2000.

Thanks to Unitron, aglasshouse for the updates


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Violence, fitting for its album title, is one of the most genuinely aggressive albums out there. The pure unbridled rage that Nothingface exudes is both blood-pumping and cathartic, with some added melodies to create an effective contrast. The aggression and heaviness never take a back seat though, it all works perfectly together.

The massive grooves bring the hooks to reel you in, but the late vocalist Matt Holt is perhaps the biggest highlight of the album. He screams out some of the most seriously angry vocals I've heard, to the point that he can sound legitimately intimidating. Songs like Make Your Own Bones, Same Solution, Can't Wait for Violence, and especially Hidden Hands, show someone that you don't want to mess with. Lines like "YEAH, YOU'll DIE YOU FUCKING BITCH" from Same Solution and the aforementioned lyric from Hidden Hands that opens this review are some of the most intense moments in metal history.

Coupled with the minimalist yet threatening Roy Lichtenstein-esque album cover, this is as intensive as music gets.
With nu metal, the quality can go one of too very polar-ended ways: either it is structurally basic, repetitive, laughably edgy, or just plain uninteresting, or it's surprisingly competent and able to incorporate more interesting elements than the genre is known to allow. This is not an original observation by any means, but it is important to keep in mind as to distinguish quality nu metal releases from the mountains of drivel that also occupies the genre. And this pile of drivel is enormous- so enormous that I wouldn't really put it past someone to dismiss the medium in it's entirety. In my case when I find something actually good that happens to be golden-age nu metal, it is surprisingly and extremely refreshing. Today's pick is Nothingface, an act arising from the surprisingly vivacious hotpot of Washington D.C. They were rather early to the scene with their 1993 emergence and shot a slew of well-judged bullets through their 90's career, and didn't even end of up petering out by the time An Audio Guide to Everyday Atrocity came out in '98.

Then came Violence. This breakout disc was the band's second to last release but also happens to be their most caustic, interesting, and violent. Right off the bat it's clear from the title and the minimalist cover bearing only the album and band's titles and a strip of a Roy Lichtenstein-esque illustration that Violence is about as blunt as a ball-bearing cosh swinging at your skull at 25 mph. Fear not, the music certainly reflects that. Thematically it is very reflective of the era's newly born alternative metal scene with somber and often times volcanically pugnacious lyrics, which blend very well with Matt Holt's low-pitched and melancholic self-harmonizations. The raw aggression is conveyed through snarling guitar licks and barely-restrained yet pretty complex at-times drum fills from Chris Houck (who has probably become one of my favorite nu metal drummers of all time). Also, some of the hooks on this album in particular are extremely catchy at times either with the vocals or the guitar. I think 'Can't Wait For Violence''s chorus had been stuck in my head for several days after listening all the way through the album. Going back to Matt Holt; harmonizations are present but something that really brings the apoplectic rage is his extremely raw vocal screams, which would likely not sound out of place on any other more respected metal album. Not only are these screams very well done and do well to get my heart kicked up a few notches at some points, the unapologetic use of juvenile curse words is a good motif and a conveyance of a sort of loss of humanity amidst the animalistic fury that is used on this record. I think the line: "FUCK! SCRAPE OUT HIS EYES!!" from 'Hidden Hands' will go down in my books as one of the unabashed incitements of ultra-violence I've heard in music.

Violence, as well as Nothingface in general, is a real diamond in the rough and I hope they do get more recognition, especially considering Matt Holt's horribly unfortunate death a few months ago. Even nu-metal naysayers I believe are safe near this record.

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