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Overkill - Scorched review

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Band: Overkill
Album: Scorched
Style: Thrash metal
Release date: April 2023

01. Scorched
02. Goin' Home
03. The Surgeon
04. Twist Of The Wick
05. Wicked Place
06. Won't Be Comin' Back
07. Fever
08. Harder They Fall
09. Know Her Name
10. Bag O' Bones

Releasing a metal album the same day as Metallica is brave. Releasing a thrash metal album the same day as Metallica is crazy.

If there was a band with enough quality and willingness to march to the beat of their own drum and welcome the challenge of comparing themselves to Metallica (that didn't include Dave Mustaine), then it would be Overkill, the most prolific band in thrash, unleashing their twentieth(!) album Scorched. The latest instalment in a resurgence of the band's fortunes that started all the way with Ironbound, Scorched has a lot riding on it. Thankfully, it is more than up to the task.

Led by the unique voice that is Blitz, the band run through a collection of adrenaline-dripping thrashers like a runaway freight train, complete with screaming brakes and sparks galore. The ripping opening title track, featuring an unconventional and raw-sounding solo, sets an early reminder to listeners that Overkill will zig when many others' zag. This is a common theme throughout the album, while non-thrash fans may decry the genre for sounding all too familiar, Overkill subvert expectation to give sceptics pause for thought. Case in point: the breakdown in "The Surgeon"; just as you settle in for an extended section that rests on its groove, you are shaken out of this false assumption as the song immediately picks up the pace into a scintillating solo.

Thanks to the astute decision to bring Jason Bittner into the fold, the drumming has been a highlight of the band's output. A perfect foil for Verni's tight and hard-hitting bass, Bittner brings such interesting and powerful patterns to the table. "Won't Be Comin' Back" sees him throw in fills and rolls like a hyperactive toddler. This infectious energy recharges the rest of the band and the song is more powerful as a result. This is also the case for other tracks like "Harder They Fall".

Overkill have become that reliable that, to a degree, it feels like the band are able to churn out albums that feel like they come off a conveyor belt and repeat the same formula. This is only really an issue if you dislike the band. If you disliked their previous work and sound, then Scorched is going to sound much the same as what came before. If, like myself, you are a fan of the band, then this ability to remain consistent and persist is a positive and is something to be commended.

Scorched easily beats out its rival releases, putting others in its shadow and raises the question of why Overkill weren't able to break into the upper echelons of metal, especially on the back of consistent and regular quality albums.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 9
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 7
Production: 8

Written on 23.04.2023 by Just because I don't care doesn't mean I'm not listening.


Comments: 3   Visited by: 191 users
23.04.2023 - 17:33
Totally agree 💯 Overkill is awesome
24.04.2023 - 21:38
Scorched easily beats out its rival releases, putting others in its shadow and raises the question of why Overkill weren't able to break into the upper echelons of metal, especially on the back of consistent and regular quality albums.

Let's see, through the decades.

In the 80's their albums were too aggressive and uncommercial to beat out Metallica. And let's be honest here. I love Overkill to death, but 80's Metallica was untouchable.

In the 90's Metallica found the key to superstardom. Overkill followed in their footsteps, but their take on Metallica's black album was painfully subpar. Or simply bad.

In the 00's Overkill were trying to refine/develop their sound, but never really found their footing.

The 10's are a triumphant return for Overkill, but it's not the time for thrash to be revered.

Factor in all of the above, and add Bobby's vocals, which are an acquired taste. I personally know people who can't stand Overkill solely because of the vocals. With such a singer (as great as he is to my own ears), there is no way in the world to catapult Overkill into stardom.
25.04.2023 - 01:43
Rating: 8
I liked this a lot more than White Devil Armory and The Grinding Wheel; although they are definitely solid albums and I'm glad they got such a warm reception, they didn't click with me (and still don't, unfortunately) and felt like less magical retreads of Ironbound and The Electric Age. Wings Of War revived my interest and was itself a very good album, but Scorched is easily the most interesting album they've done in ages. It doesn't have quite the energy or the edge of Ironbound, which I think should be remembered as one of those all-time great late-career records, but it's pretty musically adventurous for them and it's incredible how much vitality they have after 43 years. Bobby is such an incredible frontman. Put him on any song and it's automatically better.
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