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W.F.O.

United States Country of Origin: United States

1. Where It Hurts
2. Fast Junkie
3. The Wait - New High In Lows
4. They Eat Their Young
5. What's Your Problem
6. Under One
7. Supersonic Hate
8. R.I.P. (Undone)
9. Up To Zero
10. Bastard Nation
11. Gasoline Dream
12. Heaven And Hell (Black Sabbath- Hidden Track)
13. The Ripper (Judas Priest-Hidden Track)


Review by Felix on November 14, 2023.

Oh D.D. Verni, we know that you can handle the bass guitar masterly. But does this alone justify your enormous ego? On “W.F.O.”, he plays his instrument with pride and due to the fact that the album was produced by Overkill, it comes as no surprise that the bass lines are omnipresent. I do not deny that Verni’s part adds an extra portion of heaviness. I just wonder about the extremely prominent place of the four strings in the mix. Anyway, the full-length boasts with an angry sound with sharp-edged guitars and Blitz is in very good form. I love it when he screams “I am a machine” at the end of the title track and generally speaking, his charisma enriches the material. Guess this is one of his best performances in 40 years of Overkill.

D.D. contributes a dark touch with his pumping lines, especially in highlights such as “The Wait – New Highs in Lows”. This sinister number with its desperate lyrics closes is part of the extremely strong beginning of “W.F.O.”. Overkill present all features that we want them to offer. The songs are full of energy, jagged riffs invite the listener to a headbanging session and the precise and mostly fast drumming delivers the driving momentum. “Where it Hurts” opens the curtain powerfully, “Fast Junkie” satisfies the speed metal community and the equally rapid “They Eat Their Young” is another fine piece of juicy meat. One can like these songs or not, but one cannot deny that they are pure metal and nothing else. This alone deserves respect, because we all know that 1994, the year of the album’s release, was no good time for our music. On the other hand: after the pretty disastrous experiments on “I Hear Black”, Overkill were well advised to flirt with true steel again.

“What’s Your Problem” is the name of the fifth track and I want to give the answer. It’s the part of the album which begins with this song. No, Overkill do not overwhelm the listener with fillers, but the aforementioned piece is definitely weaker than its predecessors. “Under One” reanimates the edgy element of the tracks at the beginning and holds crispy riffs, but the sick tone at the ending is questionable. “R.I.P. (Undone)” is a nice atmospheric guitar intermezzo, but the real thing begins again with “Bastard Nation”. This song with its sing-along chorus is maybe the most radio-friendly number here, but still a muscular creation. Finally, we get the excellent “Gasoline Dream”. It bundles the strengths of Overkill for the last time and I enjoy an ominous and vicious closer with a perfect balance between great melody lines and evil vibrations.

“W.F.O.” celebrates its 30th anniversary next year, but when I look at the average rating, I fear that this will be no party with a lot of friends. I do not really understand this, because the album is filled to the brim with typical stuff of the band and avoids lame doomy excursions. I know that all of you seem to worship “The Years of Decay”, but come on, is this really true? From my point of view, “W.F.O.” brought back the juvenile freshness that had made their first two albums that great. Okay, its artwork sucks, but I don’t care. The back cover looks great and did I already say that the bass guitar is a massive factor here?

Rating: 8.1 out of 10

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Review by Fran on November 14, 2023.

5 years after Bobby Gustafson’s departure from the band, the transition between the classic old school thrash metal sound from the early days to the modern speed-metallish, bass-driven machine Overkill was complete. More than complete, that script was beginning to wear out already. This record still kicks ass if you ask me, because I’m a hardcore fan of 80’s thrash and even if this isn’t an old school record it has the fire that new wave bands wouldn’t achieve even if they are born again, but I can see were the critics towards it come. Horroscope was different but just as good as their classic 4 albums but “I Hear Black” sounded considerably weaker with its almost artisanal and crude production. WFO features the same lineup from “I Hear Black” but the songwriting approach is more violent and less gothic and obscure, and the production is considerably better.

There’s still some groove in the riffing and the mix has lots of bass in general, so distinctive in modern late 90s thrash but WFO’s principal virtue is the spice of the double bass speed metal parts. Bastard Nation, Gasoline Dream and Fast Junkie are excellent live songs for example. That up beat tempo, insanely and unhealthy overstimulated is vicious and delicious. In fact, I found this record so aggressive that its more similar to what they are playing since Ironbound than the other groove records they pulled out in the 90s. The recording highlights the analog tube distortion from the amps and the clancky sound bass strings make when hit hard against the fretboard along with the double bass drum attack perfectly.

Bobby Blitz’s vocals are as vicious and raspy as always, excellent singer and live performer, never lets down. Lyrics dealing with street issues also fit the music proposal and the Motorhead influenced barfight rock and roll mayhem. This might not be thrash metal finest hour but it’s an enjoyable record with memorable moments.

Rating: 8.2 out of 10

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