Overkill – White Devil Armory2nd September 2014
Returning with their 17th studio album, Bobby “Blitz” “Ellsworth leads the New Jersey thrash metal veterans into the fray once more, with a fresh collection of new tracks entitled White Devil Armory.
The band have arguably been enjoying a bit of a renaissance since unleashing the beast that was Ironbound in 2010, with the solid follow up album, The Electric Age in 2012. Expectations were high for this release, so the big question is… does it measure up?
In a word, yes! After the obligatory intro, you have approximately 49 seconds to find some cover before the album opener, ‘Armorist‘, detonates with all the subtlety of a hammer to the skull. Built on a driving riff over some pounding double bass drumming, this track boasts a very simple but hugely effective chorus, utilising some cool call and response vocals between Blitz and long time cohort, DD Verni. Throw in an extremely well crafted solo from Dave Linsk and you have a guaranteed future classic…
The pace is taken down a notch slightly for the next track,’Down to the Bone‘ which has cool chugging riff, which reminds me a bit of classic Anthrax, before the track speeds up in time for another classy lead.
Track number three, ‘Pig‘, is where things really start to get interesting. I know a lot of people have a hard time getting to grips with the vocals and if you weren’t a fan of Blitz before, this track is not going to change your mind. This must count as one of the most intense tracks the band have ever recorded, especially on the vocal front. It’s a real white knuckle ride, with Blitz spitting out the lyrics like venom laced bullets as the drums relentlessly drive home the assault. Just when you think things can’t get any better, the song ends on an absolutely monstrous riff, which will leave Gary Holt scratching his head wondering why he never thought of it first. It’s also punctuated with a cool explosion effect in time with the beat, adding to the sheer heaviness.
This is the fourth album that this particular incarnation of the band has recorded, and I think they have really hit their stride now. The guitar duo of Derek Tailer and Dave Linsk are definitely entrenched, and I think Dave‘s solos are much more authoritative than on previous releases… he’s really made his mark on the Overkill sound now. What I really like about this and the previous two releases are that the Overkill are not afraid to move with the times… yes, they are dyed in the wool old school thrash, but they are not afraid to put a modern twist on a classic formula.
The rest of the album really does flow nicely, a highlight for me being ‘Bitter Pill‘, which has a classic Overkill intro in the vein of ‘Bare Bones‘ from the Horrorscope album, it’s also reminiscent of Peace Sells… era Megadeth… no bad thing! Half way through this track, we are thrown a curveball in the shape of a nice riff that has a cool Black Sabbath vibe to it, before the intro is reused to end the song as it began.
My personal favourite track on the album comes near the end, with the cracking ‘In The Name‘, the vocal performance here easily puts some singers half his age to shame, this one simmers with really cool riffs, some nice guitar harmonies and a shout a long style chorus, which will be stuck in your head for days to come.
The quality of the material is really consistent on this album and you get the feeling the guys have really dug deep here, but more than that, it’s the sound of a band supremely confident with what they have created. They certainly don’t sound like they are a band 17 albums into their career and I think that the hitherto unmentioned Ron Lipnicki has to take some credit for that. The man is an absolute powerhouse behind the kit and he has injected a massive dose of energy into the band.
If they can continue to release records of this calibre, then we’ve got some great music to look forward to. If you like quality thrash, you will absolutely love this!!
Score: 9 out of 10
3. Down To The Bone
5. Bitter Pill
6. Where There’s Smoke
7. Freedom Rings
8. Another Day To Die
9. King Of The Rat Bastards
10. It’s All yours
11. In the Name
12. The fight song
13. Miss Misery
18th July 2014