Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Overkill - White Devil Armory

There is no doubt that Overkill is, quite possibly, the hardest working band in metal. At one point they were touring like mad men to the point that front man Bobby "Blitz" Ellsworth had a stroke on stage in 2002 and it still didn't stop him or this band. They were surely hit or miss in the 90s after going into a more groove metal direction but in 2010 they did a return to form with Ironbound and again with the follow up, 2012's The Electric Age. So here we are in 2014 hoping this veteran band will make it three in a row and keep the momentum going with their new release, White Devil Armory. Strange title, I know, but for the most part this album is on par with last two.

This band has always had the ability to throw down some killer thrash riffs and this album is chock full of them. After a useless intro, they kick your ass with "Armorist." Although this song has some of the dumbest lyrics in metal this song is a kick ass opener. It may not have the staying power of other songs on this album but the riffs slay and the thrash tempo is a neck breaker. Halfway through they groove it up a bit then go into a monster solo. "Down to the Bone" has that classic Overkill mix of thrash and groove to make for a really good song. The riffing, along with that signature D.D. Verni bass sound, just reeks of the old days. Again we have another killer tasty solo making this song one of the more memorable on the album. And Blitz sounds like he's still 25. His range has not changed a bit and his screams and laughs are pure fuckin' evil. "When There's Smoke..." is just a monster song with some serious riffing and an angry thrash tempo that will give you a stiff neck if you're not careful. I mean, come on, with D.D. Verni's background shouts "When there's smoke, there's fiiiyerrr" what's not to like?

"Bitter Pill" has a dark feel to it but has some kick ass riffing and is even a bit on the epic side. The bridge leading to the chorus is catchy throwing some melody into the mix here. This song is quite different than most on the album as it has many components to it. The groove riffing in the middle adds even more dimension to the song. My only complaint is that the solo seems to be incoherent and all over the place with no direction to it. This song is almost six minutes long but it doesn't seem over long like the previous song "Pig." That song has some nice riffing but it seems to lack direction. The chorus seems to irritate me a bit and the solo is just lack luster. What a difference in songs, one right after the other. "It's All Yours" is so beautifully simplistic but is so catchy. The riff has a cool groove to it and even when it slows a bit in the middle it keeps your attention. The solo on this song is another great shredder and makes up for some of the lack luster soloing on some of the other songs. One thing you can't accuse this album of is lack of variety.

"King of the Rat Bastards" is a thrasher through and through with some killer thrash riffs and some grooves and melodies that make this song quite catchy. Then you have just a straight up riff fest called "Another Day To Die." This song has some of the best riffs of the album and with just a hint of melody thrown in makes this one of my favorites on this album. The solo could have been a little better but overall it doesn't take away from the song. This is just another example of the variety of sounds on this album.

At the end of the day this is an excellent album with just a few flaws. It doesn't hit me like the previous two did but it's still nothing to turn your nose at. This is the band's seventeenth full length album and that, in and of itself, is an accomplishment. They are keeping the momentum going and it appears that they are not slowing down at all. Instead, they are writing a new chapter in the annals of the Green and Black and, by all means, you should be part of it.


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