Overkill bassist D.D. Verni is not only known as one of the two main driving forces behind the legendary wrecking crew from New York, he’s also expanded his creativity to The Bronx Casket Crew over the years, and now, finally, a solo effort hits the streets.
What to expect? Casket Co. doesn’t sound like Overkill at all, but will this?
The answer is ‘no’.
The cover letter for the promo states that Barricade is ‘…metal, punk, classic rock…from Queen to Green Day to Metallica’. That doesn’t leave you more the wiser before actually hitting the Play button, and the first surprise actually starts right there: The opening riff of ‘Fire Up’ comes very close to the sound and feel of the Sisters of Mercy tune ‘Doctor Jeep’. An unexpected but nice surprise!
The surprises don’t end there. ‘Miracle Drug’ has exactly that Green Day pop-punk-catchiness the cover letter aludes to. D.D.’s voice works really well for this type of music, I must say.
‘Off My Leash’ has a touch of Black album Metallica era, a mid-tempo tune, which Lipnicki sees as an excuse for firing away with the double bass drums. Nice touch, which makes the song considerably heavier than it would’ve been in it’s bare structure.
‘(We Are) The Broken Ones’ has that touch of Queen mentioned above – as well as another hint of modern pop-punk. Catchy stuff, although not quite as interesting as the first three tunes.
‘Lost In The Underground’ is D.D.’s weakest vocal performance of the album, although I can easily see how cool a song it would be with a different singer. This songs simply begs for a more extreme voice. If any of the songs here would have worked for Overkill, I think it’s this one.
‘The Party of No’ sees Verni go Zombie. As in…White Zombie. D.D.’s voice works well for this style, and the stomping rhythm is rather infectious. Same can be said of ‘Night of the Swamp King’ with dark gospel choir intro and the touch of slow cajun/bluesy guitar, which eventually turns into a midtempo heavy metal song, which again turns into a Type O inspired piece and then heavy metal again. I can easily see how this wouldn’t quite fit into the Overkill concept.
With ‘We Were Young’, Verni balances on that double-edged sword of sentimentality. We’ve kind of heard this one before. It’s got the piano and all, and it builds into a mighty homage to the youth some of us have long lost. I’m not quite sensing it here, sorry.
After this, ‘Slow My Ride’ becomes a bit of a relief. Uptempo and straight-forward. It’s pop-punk catchiness again, and it works well. ‘Heaven Calling’ seems to be heading in the same direction, but only to some extent. It makes a twist of sorts halfway, which lifts it from mediocre to great. I love when that happens, and just confirms how you need to listen the entire song rather than just discarding after 30 seconds!
To sum up: Overkill fans will not necessarily enjoy this. But Barricade is nevertheless a decent album with a handful of great tunes. Well-worth checking out, metal lads and lasses!
1. Fire Up
2. Miracle Drug
3. Off My Leash
4. (We Are) The Broken Ones
5. Lost In The Underground
6. The Part Of No
7. Night Of The Swamp King
8. We Were Young
9. Slow My Ride
10. Heaven Calling
Playing Time: 48 minutes
D.D. Verni - bass, guitars, vocals
Ron Lipnicki - drums