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Overkill - 2003 Killbox 13


OVERKILL - KILLBOX 13 (2003, SPITFIRE RECORDS)
Bobby 'Blitz' Ellsworth - vocals
DD Verni - bass
Derek Tailer - guitar
Tim Mallare - drums
Dave Linsk - guitar


Background
Overkill, along with the likes of Testament and Exodus, are regarded as one of the kings of thrash metal, with classic albums such as 'Feel The Fire' and 'Years Of Decay'. I was under the impression that Overkill were dead and buried, swept aside by the change in musical climate in the early/mid Nineties. My recent research into the band has proven completely otherwise, with Overkill releasing a number of albums in the past few years and to this day a have an extremely strong fanbase. This is getting close to being a bit too heavy for my tastes but I'm going to give it a go nonetheless. One of Overkill's previous albums is titled 'Wrecking Your Neck', and that's probably what's going to happen listening to an entire Overkill album. They've certainly got the heaviness side of things sorted, but I'm actually surprised by some of the melodies coming through, especially Bobby Blitz's vocals. He's no Geoff Tate or the like, but within his somewhat growly style there is a genuine attempt to keep it melodious like that of Mike Howe from Metal Church, trying to sing rather than scream.

The Songs
The opening salvo of 'Devil By The Tail' has a thumping bass line from DD and good vocal work by Blitz on the chorus. DD's bass dominates again on 'Damned' along with some very heavy and infectious riffing from Derek and Dave. Overkill drop it down a notch from the speed/thrash of the previous two tracks on 'No Lights'. Mid tempo and crunchier at first it does accelerate toward it's conclusion. 'The One' has an excellent start with old school metal riffing and some brilliant soloing over the top. An all round classic metal track. I had to check if 'Crystal Clear' was a Black Sabbath cover considering how Iommi inspired the riff is. A mix of Doom and Trash, one of the least likeable tracks on the album. It's back to what Overkill do best on 'Sound Of Dying', old school meets modern riffing and Blitz sounding at his best. 'Until I Die' is an ethereal ballad that doesn't do much apart from a thrashy mid section. I was struck down in shock when I heard the solo to 'Struck Down'. Absolutely brilliant and melodic, the song itself being a mix of thrash Judas Priest-type metal. Blitz and the boys finish things off in great style on the final two tracks. 'Unholy' is nowhere near as heavy as the title might suggest, rather taking a melodic speed metal route. Quite melodic and a cool chorus. Though 'On The Rise' has a fairly modern metal feel to it but it also has plenty of speed and energy.

In Summary
Before I reviewed this album I was completely unaware of Overkill's continued career through the Nineties into the new millenium. To find that I like what I'm hearing from a band I paid no attention to and had written off as not my cup-of-tea is a big surprise. Overkill tread a line that fits well between traditional old-school metal and the new breed - plenty of heaviness but a good dose of melody as well. I mentioned that I thought this might be too heavy for me - not any more. Thanks Overkill, I'm suitably wrecked!

Track Time:50:22

Track Listing:
01 Devil By The Tail
02 Damned
03 No Lights
04 The One
05 Crystal Clear
06 The Sound Of Dying
07 Until I Die
08 Struck Down
09 Unholy
10 I Rise

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Comments
#1 | fenton on December 09 2010 12:40:24
I'm pretty sure this wasn't written by Alun.
#2 | gdazegod on December 10 2010 01:05:51
I think it was.. it was submitted during a period when GLORYDAZE was going through a e-zine/web book phase during the mid 2003 year. Alun also submitted another 'off the wall' review around the same time by Billy Milano and M.O.D.
#3 | dangerzone on December 10 2010 01:13:59
I can honestly say I didn't write this one. I've always been a big thrash fan but I haven't heard this album to be honest. I think I was surprised George wrote about it at the time.
#4 | gdazegod on December 10 2010 01:51:13
Err it wasn't me.. I'll need to go back and check.. thanks guys.. BTW, you did write the Billy Milano one didn't you? lol!
#5 | gdazegod on December 10 2010 01:52:07
Aah, I think I know who it was.. Lee Aspin.. aka King Of Sunset Town.
#6 | dangerzone on December 10 2010 02:23:21
I definitely wrote the Milano one. What a useless album that was!
 
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