Overkill: The electric age
25/04/12 || Habakuk
There is some prejudice, or in other words, there are some truths that actually need a bit of a readjustment from time to time. For example, the last two months of Audio Autopsy proved wrong the perceived notion of 90 % of all albums released being utter crap. Nope, 2012 actually started out insanely strong, with great bands actually meeting expectations. Another example would be my prejudice that Overkill were a solid band with a big name, but not one to bother with too much. Smack! Wrong! Truth hits everybody eventually.
Damn this is one bad-ass album. And it’s not one of these run-of-the-mill thrash albums that are standard issue these days, quite the contrary. This breathes energy and personality. Why? Well, Overkill sound just like Overkill, as they did 10 years ago (which was roughly when I discovered them via “Bloodletting”). Just better. First of all, that is of course owed to Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth’s awesome snarl which doesn’t show any signs of withering or age. If you’ve never heard him, the guy has a sort of high-pitched, gruff voice, which I actually hadn’t been too fond of earlier. Here however he puts in so much variety and force, it’s a sheer pleasure to witness. Imagine a thrash version of Rob Halford minus the over-the-top falsetto in the “I just lost my job as a digger operator” mood. By throwing around hilarious lines like “got a lotta mouth for a Jersey white boy!” with the utmost conviction, “Blitz”’ adds a whole new level of catchiness to the already very distinct instrumental parts.
The songs move from double-bass enhanced d-beat driven speed – for example, “Save yourself”, which starts out like an adrenalized version of Judas Priest’s “Rapid fire” – to more melodic parts and groovier sections (“Black daze”), as well as blunt in-your-face smash hit bits underlying the line quoted above, or this excerpt from “Drop the hammer down”:
Drop dead dreams in a deep, dirt ditch
Buried by a shovel hand
Dead screams from the son of a bitch
Coming out to beat the band
…which leads climatically into a fantastic lead guitar section. I’d like to stress here how well-composed these 10 songs come across. All the individual elements are in place, and never does one as a listener have the feeling to be on the losing end of a songwriting experiment gone haywire. These guys have, what, 20+ years of experience on their backs, and they sure know what they’re doing. Needless to say the individual performances are spot-on as well. Production-wise, the instruments sound modern, but for once this doesn’t mean lifeless and processed – which is of course also owed to the playing itself. The rhythm section especially sounds snappy and tight, yet far from computerized and streamlined.
I hear “Ironbound” was great already, so listening to this here album leads me to think these guys are in the same phase Motörhead have been in since “Inferno” – What’s it called, old age awesomeness? My only gripe, and it’s a small one, is that the album should have ended right after track 8. The last two tracks, albeit solid, don’t really bring anything new to the table for 10 minutes. After the first three speedfests that set the album’s tone, and the following streak of five (!) hands-down awesome songs, that might admittedly be asked a bit much, though. If you like thrash, you should be checking this one out.
- Released: 2012
- Label: Nuclear Blast Records
- Website: www.wreckingcrew.com
- Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth: vocals
- D.D. Verni: bass, backing vocals
- Dave Linsk: lead guitar, backing vocals
- Derek Tailer: rhythm guitar, backing vocals
- Ron Lipnicki: drums
- 01. Come and get it
- 02. Electric rattlesnake
- 03. Wish you were dead
- 04. Black daze
- 05. Save yourself
- 06. Drop the hammer down
- 07. 21st century man
- 08. Old wounds, new scars
- 09. All over but the shouting
- 10. Good night