Well, I think I am going to need to go to the hospital, or at least to an orthodontist. For at least ten days straight I have listened to nothing but The Electric Age, the latest full-length release from those New Jersey stalwarts, OverKill, and not only have my teeth been knocked cleanly from my face, but I also can’t seem to pick my jaw up off the floor.
Since the release of their debut, self-titled EP in 1984, OverKill have been a force to be reckoned with in the world of metal music. Prolific doesn’t even begin to break the tip of the iceberg when it comes to these guys. What is even more amazing than a thirty plus year career, containing sixteen full-lengths, three live albums, two EP’s, and a covers album, is the fact that OverKill have managed to do all of this while undergoing constant line-up changes, yet always having retained the ‘Kill sound.
Find out why OverKill continues to be the best thrash metal band on the planet right here.
“Come and Get It” kicks things off on The Electric Age in that classic OverKill style. The grooves of guitarists Dave Linsk and Derek Tailer are simply undeniable, while the bass of D.D. Verni is flat out decimating. The song is an upbeat thrasher, but really makes good use of some slow, old-school thrash breakdowns along with some nice chants that add a climatic feel to things. The vocals of Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth sound terrific, with that gritty wail of his showing no sign of stopping. The drumming of Ron Lipnicki is also worth noting, as his fills and footwork are nothing less than pummeling. Linsk’s soloing is fantastic also, his well thought out leads contribute quite a bit of feeling to an already impressive display. The rest of The Electric Age is basically the same, but in the best possible way imaginable.
Honestly, I can’t even pick an overall favorite track or definite highlight, because the entire album is great. Every song has something that makes it worthy of hearing, and most of them have a plethora of these things. From the grooves of “Electric Rattlesnake”, “Wish You Were Dead”, and “Save Yourself”, to the drum and bass frenzy of “Drop the Hammer Down” and “Old Wounds, New Scars”, to the mid-paced thrashings of “Black Daze”, and “21st Century Man”, to the sinister guitar lick behind the pre-chorus of “All Over but the Shouting”, to the classic sounding instrumental intro of “Good Night”, something can be found that will appease even the most elite of elitists. The aforementioned “Black Daze” possesses a slower groove that most southern metal bands would kill for, with a spectacular solo that easily brings to mind Testament. The channeling of “Rust in Peace” era Megadeth, at the 2:49-3:08 mark, of “21st Century Man”, is another one of many thrash-tastic traits that can be found on The Electric Age.
Truth be told, I am an Overkill fanboy, but I really am amazed at how the more things change, OverKill stays the same, and do such an ass kicking job at it. Obviously this can be attributed to the founding core and songwriting team of Ellsworth and Verni. Throughout OverKill’s career they have been able to keep the sound intact and actually build eras to the bands legacy. Whether it was the Gustafson days in the ‘80s, the dual axe tandem of Gant and Cannavino in the early ‘90s, the twin guitar attack of Comeau and Marino during the later ‘90s, or the current shreddings of Linsk and Tailer, the trademark OverKill sound has never gone away and actually, has only gotten better.
Seriously, The Electric Age is simply awesome. The riffs are huge, every solo is first class, the bass work is sensational, the drumming is top notch, the vocals are superb, and the production is phenomenal. Few bands can create songs that are as heavy, hook-filled, and as memorable as OverKill can. Some may complain that the template hasn’t really changed, ever, throughout OverKill’s history, and they would be right, but they would also be missing out on some of the best thrash to ever come out of anywhere. Some bands don’t need progression, not when they get it right from the get go. That’s not to say that they haven’t grown as a band or gotten better with age, because they most certainly have, but the songwriting has always been there, in both style and quality. It appears that no matter what life can throw at OverKill, nothing can stop them in their quest of being one of the best, if not the best, thrash metal band on the planet.