Sound — 9
There's only three words to describe this album, pure unadulterated thrash. Eternal Nightmare contains some of the fastest, most technical and headbangingly catchy riffs ever put to disc, and it's such a shame that this band never really got the recognition they deserved (guitarists Robb Flynn and Phil Demmel are currently in Machine Head). Released in 1988, Vio-lence were one of the most fierce bands to emerge from the Bay Area during the second wave of thrash in the '80s, and this colossal debut album remains unbeaten to this very day. The guitar tone is crunchy, the vocals suit the music perfectly (although some will disagree) and the song structure is well thought out. There isn't a single bad song on this record, although I wish there were more songs as seven tracks seems a little short.
Lyrics — 8
Now if there was anything that put people off Vio-lence, it was Sean Killian, his vocal style isn't going to appeal to everyone. You either love him or hate him, but regardless of what you think of him there's no denying the man's talent. Lyrics tend to cover the real common topics like death (bodies on Bodies, Calling in the Coroner, Kill on Command) but don't let that deter you, although the themes are somewhat cliche, the lyrics themselves are masterfully crafted and extremely open about the topics at hand.
Overall Impression — 9
I have to say, this is THE best thrash album ever, bar Vio-lence's 1990 followup "Oppressing the Masses". Many people will disagree with me on this but I honestly believe that this record perfectly catches the aura of what thrash is about, not all the songs sound all gloomy and doomish, a large majority of these riffs are incredibly upbeat. It's impossible to pick out a single track from this record because they all stand out as masterpieces of their time. The recently reissued and remastered album comes with a bonus live album from their set at Slims in San Francisco 2001, and it's well worth the price, not only for the live album, but for the improved sound quality of an undeniably classic thrash record. The only problems with this album as I mentioned before are Sean Killian's vocal style (some people may not like it, others will love it) and the length of the record, seven songs feels far too short, but when the music is this good no one should give a crap. I might sound like a complete and utter fanboy saying this, but here goes; very few, if any, do thrash as well as Vio-lence did. Buy this album as soon as you can, you won't regret it.