"Epidemic of Violence" is the 2nd full-length studio album by US, New York, Bronx based thrash metal act Demolition Hammer. The album was released through Century Media Records in March 1992. "Epidemic of Violence" features the same lineup who recorded "Tortured Existence (1990)". Demolition Hammer achieved some success with their debut album and did a European tour with Obituary and Morgoth to support the album. They were a relatively known act on the extreme metal scene in those days, but while they were often touring with death metal artists and sometimes referred too as a death metal act (probably as a concequence of the dark and brutal Scott Burns production on their debut album), the truth is they just played a very aggressive and brutal type of thrash metal.
Death/thrash is probably not the worst description of their style, but on "Epidemic of Violence", they actually lean more towards the thrash metal side of their sound. The music features good rhytmic variation, razor sharp thrashy riffing, aggressive raw vocals (and the occasional riot gang vocal shout), and blistering guitar solos. References to artists like 90s Carcass and late 80s/early 90s Kreator aren´t completely wrong. Predominantly because of the snarling rabid dog vocals, but also occasionally because of the riffing style and the generally high level of aggression in the music. Artists in the brutal, fast-paced, and raw end of the US thrash metal spectrum, like Dark Angel, Slayer, Gammacide, and Devastation, are also valid references.
While the above mentioned rhythmic variation is one of Demolition Hammer´s great assets, and a feature in their music, which ensures that the music is always entertaining, the tracks on "Epidemic of Violence" aren´t always easy to tell apart, and compared to the relatively hook laden debut album, "Epidemic of Violence" is an overall less accessible size. The cold and sterile sound production isn´t helping the album to sound more welcoming, and it is in many ways a very harsh listen, featuring few hooks and a relentlessly aggressive delivery, which could have prospered from an atmosphere change or two during the album´s playing time. Some of the heavy mid-paced parts on tracks like "Human Dissection" and "Carnivorous Obsession" work wonders, but are soon followed by fast-paced and somewhat monotone aggressive thrashy sections. Highlights in addition to the two mentioned tracks are "Pyroclastic Annihilation", "Omnivore", and "Aborticide". The two latter mentioned are absolutely scorching fast-paced thrash metal tracks.
The delivery is convincing and the music is skillfully played, but when evaluating the album as a whole it´s hard to look past the lack of variation between tracks, and the harsh sounding production, which sometimes blurs out what the guitars are playing. "Tortured Existence (1990)" was a brilliant debut album and was always going to be hard to top, and in that light "Epidemic of Violence" is a pretty good sophomore release by Demolition Hammer, but it´s also slightly disappointing that they weren´t able to follow the debut up with another release of the same high songwriting standards. Because that´s where "Epidemic of Violence" is mostly lacking compared to "Tortured Existence (1990)". a 3.5 - 4 star (75%) rating is still more than deserved though (and that might even be a bit too low) and that speaks volumes about what a great band Demolition Hammer were.