Overkill – The Electric Age (eOne Music/Nuclear Blast)
Release Date: March 27, 2012
Let’s take you back to the era of Old School Thrash Metal, a time when music was pure, mobile phones could pass for exercise weights, religions didn’t use Twitter and Facebook to find new followers, and most important, metal reigned supreme.
Overkill was formed in 1980 from the ashes of the punk band, The Lubricunts. They are described as a cult band from that era of leather and jeans, teaching people how to make music, ever since. It’s indeed a fact that they were overlooked by many thrash metal fans. Ever since their 1985 debut “Feel the Fire,” they have been non-stop in releasing stellar material, save for a few missteps in the late 90s. Their output from 1985-1991 (Feel the Fire to Horrorscope) is arguably the best collection of material from any thrash metal band ever.
Overkill consists of Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth on the vocals, Dave Linsk and Derek Tailer on the guitars, D.D. Verni on the bass and Ron Lipnicki on the drums. The Electric Age mark’s Overkill‘s 16th album and one that many think is better than 2010’s phenomenal, Ironbound.
The album starts with “21st Century Man”, a fast paced, thrash oriented song. The two guitars are panned perfectly on either side. Still the song can be rated average to be frank. The guitar solo surely made my ear bleed though. The next song in line is “All Over But Shouting” which starts as if it is the continuation of the previous song, fast paced again. The riff is darker than the other song and the panning of the guitars have been done to perfection. The best part of the song is the fact that the bass track is clearly audible, which is a rare case in metal songs. The track again is an average track, with no “ear-catching” factor to it.
Next up, we have “Black Daze”, a comparatively slower track. This song really got me going, to be frank. A pumpy intro along with some awesome coordination between the bassist and the drummer, they just nail their parts. The riff sounds like a country song lick played in heavy distortion. The guitar solo starts with just the bass and drums backing it and later the rhythm kicks in from the left pan. Overkill has experimented a lot in this song, and they have done it flawlessly. This truly exhibits the power of experience.
From Country to Nazism, “Come and Get It” has an intro strikingly similar to the background music of those Nazi-Soviet based movies. Coupled with some real insane drumming and super insane riffage, this is one killer track. The tempo change at 3:20 swings the mood totally. One special mention – the guitar solo, sweep picking at its best, totally gang banged the modern-day guitarist and drilled them the old school way!
“Electric Rattlesnake” is another monster of a track on the album. This one’s got a maddening riff, too fast even for the furious. The song has three guitar solos, all of them being offer up an excellent demonstration of the wah-wah pedal. No fancy stuff anywhere in the song, it’s all about pure unadulterated thrash metal madness. At 3:25, Overkill takes you into a trance, unlike anything you’ve experienced before.
“Good Night” is a track with one of the best acoustic intro’s I’ve ever heard. A slow-paced song, the heavy riffing starts around 1:20 and continues till the end. Be careful, you must not get carried away by this acoustic part because with the entrance of that sharp riff will leave you baffled. Though the song has a good start, it is kinda stretched a little longer than it should have been.
“Old Wounds, New Scars” is a track with a hell lot of crazy drumming. The guitar shredding can be rightfully termed as raping the fret-board. Even after these two factors, the song somehow doesn’t seem to hit the spot. Same is the case with “Save Yourself”, “Wish You Were Dead” and “Drop The Hammer”. All the three start off on a promising note, but somewhere down the line, they just lose the momentum.
“Wish You Were Dead” has some awesome drumming, but the riff is too common. “Drop The Hammer” has a nice melodic touch to it with an epic NWOBHM passage, but feels incomplete as the song grows. So does “Save Yourself”. It’s got a maddening fast riff, but it never quite takes off as you’d expect. It’s the fastest song on the record and lyrically one of the strongest.
The album promises something for the die-hard Overkill fans and new fans alike. I still believe Ironbound was the most consistent album the band has released since Horrorscope. Sadly, The Electric Age , while a strong effort, suffers due to faults in the lyrics and repetition. I like the album, I just don’t love it like I did with Ironbound.
After three decades, one cannot ignore the fact that Overkill still comes across as a hungry band looking to make a name for themselves as the undisputed kings of underground thrash.