Review by Vladimir on April 16, 2023.
If you are die-hard thrash metal fan, especially US thrash metal, then you have definitely heard about Overkill. They’ve been one of the dominating bands in this genre for 43 years and they are still releasing albums. It’s been a while since I listened to Overkill, I missed out on some of their releases that came out after White Devil Armory since I lost interest in the band and thrash metal in general. As it was with Metallica, Overkill was also a band I saw performing live in 2015 and worshipped in my teens when thrash metal was all I could think of. So, I thought why not give them another chance and see how they are holding up. Overkill has recently released their official twentieth album Scorched on April 14th, via Nuclear Blast Records.
The opener is the title track 'Scorched' which starts with a nice hammer-on solo that reminded me a lot of Mercyful Fate. After the solo it quickly switches to the good old thrashing Overkill with palm-muted riffs, double-bass drums, DD Verni’s shredding bass and Bobby Blitz with his nasty and rotten singing voice which hasn’t aged at all. There are also some nice catchy and groovy riffs in a slower tempo, giving the song a dynamic style. The second track 'Goin’ Home' has some catchy melodies and punk rock style implemented on the song’s chorus, which I think has a nice uplifting spirit to it. The fourth track 'Twist Of The Nick' has an epic choir on the song’s bridge section before the guitar solo, which surprisingly sounds gothic and dark. The fifth track 'Wicked Place' is also a surprisingly interesting song, which has some wicked rock and roll riffs and even cellos in the song’s finale. What’s also interesting is the approach taken on the seventh track 'Fever', where Bobby’s melodic vocals with added reverb have some nice Ozzy Osbourne vibe to them, but the guitar riffs also seem to be going for a stonier Black Sabbath style. Looking at the overall musical output, it’s safe to say that Overkill still delivers some banger and groovy riffs which are tight and sharp, and so does Bobby Blitz deliver the goods with his signature singing voice. It seems that Overkill can’t get enough of doing what they’re best at, which I think deserves some form of appreciation since there aren’t so many bands that still know how to make good songs when sticking to their traditional musical formula. The sound production is similar to most of their releases from all the way back since Ironbound, which is quite high quality and loud thanks to the heavy sound of guitars, bass and drums, whereas Bobby’s vocals still maintain their high ground mix-wise.
It's incredible how Overkill, despite repeating their style for the last ten years, never failed in their own game. Scorched may not be anything special or spectacular other than just another average Overkill album, but at least it managed to give us very enjoyable and banger songs which would certainly please a fellow thrasher. Although I have missed out on a couple of their albums ever since the release of White Devil Armory, after coming back to check out Scorched, it seems like no time passed at all. Even though I am no longer deep into thrash metal as I once was, I can still say with certainty that Scorched is a pretty solid album. This album dropped the same day as Metallica’s "72 Seasons", which in my opinion scorches the living hell out of that album and puts it to shame for lacking any substance. Overkill remains very faithful to their sound, despite having some flawed releases in their catalog. They've been around since 1980 and they haven’t dropped their balls after so many years of decay and thrash metal. Despite their age, Overkill is still mean and green.
Rating: 8 out of 101.23k
Review by Michael on April 9, 2023.
Hell yeah!!! April 2023 has some pretty cool shit going on in thrash metal. On one hand the German Deimos' Dawn, which I have already reviewed, but on the other comes Enforced and in this case Overkill from overseas in my stereo. Now the only question is whether you prefer it cozy with a massage chair and a cold beer (Overkill) or rather with a crowbar in the face and a schnapps for afterwards (Enforced). So let's start with the cozier part, Scorched.
First of all, the guys from Overkill with this album have their 20th (!) studio album, which I find quite impressive. Even more impressive, however, is that they have delivered nothing really bad since the very boring and soft From The Underground And Below from 1997, if you ignore the somewhat uninspired songs on ReliXIV. So that leaves only two somewhat weaker albums for the time being (the second weak, because not very powerful album is I Hear Black in my opinion). Now, of course, the question arises whether Overkill can continue to deliver on such a high level after the series of good-class albums.
I'll give the answer once, directly and in advance: yes, they can and they have even brought a few thick songwriting surprises. The groovy elements we know from the past are again a central element of the Overkill sound on Scorched. The NJ thrashers rely on a lot of hook lines, for example 'Goin Home' gets stuck directly in your head because of its highly melodic parts and the hooklines. 'Know Her Name' and 'Bag O Bones' are also typical Overkill thrash songs, whereby the chorus of 'Bag O Bones' comes across a bit bluesy and fits perfectly into the rather fast song despite the unusual arrangement. Blitz' voice sounds especially fresh and high here as it hasn't in a long time. On the other side, there are also the slower, again very bluesy, Black Sabbath-inspired songs that Overkill also liked to compose in the past. Thus, 'Wicked Place' (which surprises with a very casual guitar solo and orchestral final part and thus seems quite threatening and gloomy) and 'Fever' (which is almost a half ballad) are by far the slowest, but no less interesting, songs on the album.
'Heaven And Hell' is also a very interesting song, which somehow reminds me of Black Sabbath - oh wait, the song is called 'Won't Be Coming Back' and after 33 seconds Ronnie James Dio is also history again and Overkill celebrate here a firework of melodies, awesome riffs and good humor.
I have now heard the album umpteen times and find, if at all, only a few points of criticism. One or two songs are perhaps rather average Overkill products, but even that is still better than - and I'm going out on a limb here - what the band, which will release the ugliest metal cover (no, not Holy Moses!) at the same time on April 14, will present with their new album, I'm sure! But maybe I'm just writing bullshit because I am trapped in the matrix and will be digested from the machines soon.
Rating: 9.5 out of 101.23k