OVERKILL “WHITE DEVIL ARMORY”

Time travel is wonderful thing, even if only in your mind. When White Devil Armory came up for review, I was taken back to a record store in 1985.  I was sifting through the new vinyl releases and came upon Feel The Fire from a New Jersey Band called Overkill.

The cover of it made me buy this album. Upon hearing the opening riffs of “Raise The Dead,” I became a lifelong member of “The Green and the Black.” I can honestly say I own every single release from this band.

Overkill have gone through their fair share of lineup changes over the last 34 years and 18 albums, but the core of Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth and D.D. Verni remain. Guitarists Derek Tailer and Dave Linsk and drummer Ron Lipnicki have all been with the band 10-plus years now, making this one of the most stable lineups in their history.  Even through the changes, they have never released a bad album, although some are better than others.  In my humble opinion, these guys never received the attention they deserved during the thrash revolution, and along with Testament and Exodus, Overkill round out the big seven of that genre.

White Devil Armory picks up right where The Electric Age left off.  It takes elements of early Overkill and shreds them with a more energetic “thrashy” feel.  There’s no mistaking who this is, and that’s one of the things about Overkill I love. Blitz’s vocals are unmistakable and are as much a trademark of the band as their rolling, galloping thrash sound.

After the ominous, metallic intro, “XDM,” “Armorist” kicks in with the energy and neck-breaking reckless abandon including galloping bass, gang shouted background vocals, blasting double-bass drums, screaming guitars and of course, Blitz’s trademark shrieks. “Down to the Bone” sounds like it could have been on Under The Influence. “Pig” is a different animal; it’s still fast and furious, but with more of a punk approach.

“Bitter Pill” is a slower, half-time song that just continues to build throughout, and allows Overkill to flex their songwriting muscles. “Where There’s Smoke” and “Freedom Rings” are furious examples of the pure thrash Overkill can deliver, and “King of the Rat Bastards” has a “From The Underground and Below” feel to it. “It’s All Yours” and “In The Name” round out White Devil Armory with a one-two punch right in the face. The former is Overkill doing what they do best, and the latter just screams “Feel The Fire.” It seems to be a throwback to that first era of the band in ways, but sounds just as fresh as “Armorist.”

Overkill have done a great job  keeping their image and sound fresh with White Devil Armory.  They just know exactly what to do to keep up their part of the thrash revolution.

White Devil Armory is out July 22 on eOne Music.

Rating: 5/5 Stars

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