Show Review: VIO-LENCE, Exmortus, and Defiance in Oakland, CA

In spite of the physical venue being a casualty of the pandemic, the team behind the Oakland Metro Operahouse refuse to give up, taking over parking lots around town every few months for a weekend of burlesque, Hoodslam wrestling, and music.  Queue a balmy Sunday afternoon following a late night rain, and the Bay Area metal community was more than happy to line up around the block for a day of local metal featuring Defiance, Exmortus, and the legendary VIO-LENCE.

This particular heavy metal parking lot was located right across the street from the Marriott hotel and drew plenty of curious looks from the out-of-towners, several of whom seemed to be enjoying much of the show from the windows of their hotel rooms .  Down at street level, the canned Sierra Nevada  beers flowed liberally, and by the time Defiance got the music rolling at 2:30 p.m., the crowd was more than ready for some pit action.

Exmortus kept things going with some classically-inspired  thrash before VIO-LENCE finally hit the stage. With a few hours of day drinking in the sun behind them, the Oakland crowd lost their shit when Sean Killian finally took the stage, scowling and egging them on.

Since reuniting in 2019, VIO-LENCE seems to have finally landed on a lineup that gels bringing in Bobby Gustafson (Overkill) on guitar and Christian Olde Wolbers  (Fear Factory, Beowulf) on bass. Hot off a short tour  and with a new EP (Let the World Burn, their first album of new material in 29 years!) fresh out of the hopper, these gents came ready to do some damage … and that they did … with a bit of help from their fans.

No encore? No problem. Honestly it’s not clear that the Oakland metal reunion could have handled more, and with plenty of daylight left, it’s likely that the party continued elsewhere.




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