Chris Violence and Jon DuBose were more than happy to divulge the ideology behind making amazing music on their own terms. The two of them have worked together in various projects since 1991, including a band named Cessation Of Life where Jon was a founding member. Chris left the band after eighteen years for personal reasons, but they both love reflecting back upon almost two decades of memories. As with any band, playing lives shows is undeniably one of the best parts of being a professional musician. Cessation Of Life played countless venues and opened up for a large number of bands, including Testament. However, Chris enjoyed playing smaller venues within the United States such as Mid-America. To him, the fans seemed more eager to hear a heavy metal show and were more apt to party really hard afterwards (as that was appealing to Chris back in those days). “I always liked going to and playing gigs at the Coconut Teazer in Hollywood,” recalls Jon, “I don’t think it’s there anymore but I loved the atmosphere there.”
Van Halen, Black Sabbath, Ozzy [Osbourne], Dio, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Anthrax, Megadeth and so on.” Jon, like Chris, was always a fan of Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, and Black Sabbath. He also listened to lots of punk bands as well as Yes, Rush, Kansas, Styx (70s era), and NWOBHM (New Wave of British Heavy Metal) bands like Saxon, Def Leppard, and Diamond Head; progressive metal and rock have become part of Jon’s influences over the past few years. With such heavy and varied musical influences, it is no wonder that their own music is so creative.
Because they were seasoned musicians, they elected to bypass the whole process of finding a record label and utilized the Internet and social media as outlets for recording, production, and self – promotion. As a matter of fact, the band did not physically come together to do any recording whatsoever. With Chris, Jon, and Monkey in separate states in the U.S. and Jamie in Australia, they utilized the World Wide Web and shared music files back and forth in order to get the job done. To date, the band has released the single “Zombie Attack” and a full length album titled American Ripper that can be downloaded for free at http://www.chrisviolence.com. Listening to the new music nobody would ever guess how it came to be; it sounds as if it were recorded in a professional studio.
So what is next for the band? Why, more albums, of course. According to Chris, “Jon has recorded around 30-40 minutes worth of new music that is being developed with vocals. As for his writing, one song is complete with vocals and has been sent to Jamie Page for a guitar solo. I am working on an epic 20+ minute song that Jon wrote; originally it was to be cut into 5 pieces and still might be, not sure. It features a guitar solo by Maxxxwell Carlisle of Hellion. Needless to say, I have a lot of work to do vocally.” With no one to answer to but themselves, the band works on their own timetable. American Ripper took the better part of a year to complete, but for these guys quality is far more important to them than quantity. As it stands, they have no plans to change their recording and promotion techniques. Like the saying goes, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Chris Violence can be an inspiration to other bands out there with similar circumstances. If they were to have a personal motto, it would probably be along the lines of: Never let anything stand in the way of doing what you love.
The first song on the album, the title track “American Ripper”, is nothing less than good old fashioned thrash at its best. Monkey had to do some serious warm up exercises before playing this one, as all four limbs worked overtime on those drums. Guitars were on point, with this being one of four songs featuring Jamie Page on lead guitar, and Jon’s bass line was killer. Chris has the perfect vocal pitch for thrash and holds nothing back. Song 2 - “Soft Mothers Embrace” and song 3 - “Anatidaephobia” are just as thrashlicious (yes, I invented that), with a slight hint of death metal incorporated into “Soft Mothers Embrace” by periodic low growls from Chris. “The Working Dead”, the seventh track on the album, is a beautiful combination of thrash, doom, and death. It is also the perfect choice to have as the final song.
The other three tracks: “Down The Hall” (song 4), “Burning Children” (song 5), and “Fuck Shit Up” (song 6) all have Jamie Page on lead guitar. These three also lean more toward the progressive and doom metal side of the album, while still retaining thrash and death elements. Jon’s bass is a little more amplified, adding a richer sound and a heaviness that I feel was necessary for these three tracks in particular because of the message they are conveying. I would also like to note that these are the longest songs on the album and I, for one, always appreciate musical shifts and instrumental solos which these do contain. Jamie cranks out a ripping guitar solo on “Fuck Shit Up”, while “Burning Children” and “Down The Hall” also have solos but take on a slightly different tone. “Burning Children” has an impactful message, one that I am not going to tell you, as you will need to hear it for yourself. What I will tell you is that Jamie and Jon really stand out on this track. It is 10:35 of some of the best playing I have ever heard.
My favorite track on the album is “Down The Hall”. The second longest song at 7:54 long, it contains everything I love about a great metal song. First and foremost the lyrics are about death, which is always a plus. Chris demonstrates his vocal talent very well throughout the entire track. Monkey is yet again consistent with his drumming techniques, and Jamie has a screaming solo that packs a big punch. I was most impressed with bassist Jon, who really shined on this particular song. His playing grabbed my attention the first time I listened to the album, and he really outdid himself here.
The time and effort the guys put into this album were not in vain. In my opinion, American Ripper is nothing short of a masterpiece and is an essential addition to anyone’s collection. You can download the album by visiting either http://www.chrisviolence.com or http://chrisviolence.bandcamp.com. There is a “name your price” option, and I strongly urge everyone to support the band and contribute something as a token of appreciation for all their hard work.