I did not grow up listening to Over Kill, though I do recall seeing the metalheads in middle school sporting their shirts so I was vaguely aware of them as a band. My experience with the New Jersey thrashers, who’ve been causing whiplash since 1984, was as recent as 2006 when I saw them steal the stage out from under Megadeth.
I may be late to jump on the wagon for this band, but forgive me. No-one told me that they had one foot in hardcore punk — like a Metallica that never went mainstream. Had somebody said something I may have paid attention before the release of their 15th full length, Immortalis.
This release reunites the band with the pair that first gave them their big break years ago– Jonny and Marsha Zazula, formerly of Megaforce Records, who now work with Bodog Music.
Immortalis is a return to ’80s thrash, with none of the softer edges of today’s metal anywhere to be sniffed out. With the exception of one song, “Skull and Bones” (featuring Lamb of God’s Randy Blythe on guest vocals), this album is a full-on smash fest. Vocalist Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth’s gravelly tones can grate on one’s nerves after a few tracks, but if enjoyed in moderation — a few songs at a sitting — this album offers a shot of caffeine right into the veins.
“Devils in the Mist,” and “Shadow of a Doubt” are the clear winners here. “Hellish Pride” offers a riff I’ll have stuck in my head for days, but a Peter Murphy-esque vocal break that cushions the blow of an otherwise badass song… no offense to Peter Murphy, but the gothic tone does not gel well with Over Kill’s vibe.
Wrecking Crew: www.wreckingcrew.com