Being a great and devoted fan of Overkill since “Taking Over”, I’m quite familiar with their sound and style, and the development of the band over the years. The guys have presented me with some ups and downs record wise, especially the later years, but with this, their 15th album release, they seem to be more on the right track for my taste, including a bit more of the sound of their earlier years. Maybe the returning to their executive producers Jon and Marsha Zazula from the Megaforce days, now on Bodog Music, have had some influence on that – it hasn’t just been years of decay for Overkill, like I think it has been for some of their label mates from Megaforce, like Metallica and Anthrax.
Overkill might not have been among the absolute top selling acts in the genre, but they held the banner of thrash high, even in the years where many of the biggest names went soft(er) or went down.
The very distinctive voice of front man Bobby "Blitz" Ellsworth has always been one of the things I loved the most about Overkill, and what really set them apart from a lot of other Thrash bands. His singing has in some places on this album been transformed to a lower pitch than usually, maybe under the influence of some of the experiments he has done with his “garage band” The Cursed, but he’s still able to go to the high notes and screams, that I think is his trademark. Nice that you still can and will develop after so many years in the business. Apart from that, there are some guest vocals by D. Randall Blythe from Lamb of God on “Skull and Bones” – okay with another expression for the sake of diversity, but I still prefer Blitz himself.
The line up is, apart from Bobby Blitz, still D.D. Verni on bass (and production) and Dave Linsk and Derek Tailer on guitars. New man in the wrecking crew is drummer Ron Lipnicki, steady playing and doing what he’s supposed to, but without drawing very much attention to his playing.
For me there’s no immediate favourites or instant classics on this album, like Mad Gone World, Who Tends The Fire or Nice Day…For A Funeral, just to mention a few of my personal favourites from the earlier albums, but like a lot of the Overkill material, I think it has to grow on you for a while.
On this album the “Thrash’n’Roll” style, these general hints and pieces of groove and hardcore feel mixed with Thrash, that’s an important part of the Overkill sound, is rather dominant. Hardcore Thrash fans might say that the albums a bit on the slow side and to some extent they’re right about that, but it’s a solid and coherent album, and it has the real Overkill groove.
Now I’m just looking forward to receiving the limited-edition digi-pack version of this album, featuring a bonus DVD of footage from the band's performance at the Wacken Open Air festival in Wacken, Germany on August 2nd this year - see review of that concert elsewhere on this site - with a track list of old classics and two from this new album: “Rotten to the Core”, “Elimination”, “Necroshine”, “Thanx for Nothin’ '', “Skull and Bones”, “In Union We Stand”, “Walk Through Fire”, “Wrecking Crew”, “Old School” and “Fuck You”.