Overkill
Scorched

I think it’s safe to say the Tri-State Area East Coast thrashers Overkill regained their mojo with 2010’s Ironbound album.  They were also armed with a new label Nuclear Blast Records, where they have remained since.  The four albums which followed were also pretty damn ass-kicking and that trend continues with Scorched, the band’s…wait for it…wait for it…20th album.

The band has been around since 1980 and the two constants that have remained throughout the plethora of line-up changes have been vocalist Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth and bassist D.D. Verni.  They have weathered the storm of band members, dips in band popularity as well as dips in some of the quality of their albums – I would say after the scorching 1991 Horrorscope, (I saw them headline on this tour at the Ritz in NYC and they destroyed), the quality of albums went downhill until the aforementioned 2010 Ironbound album.

One of the things that have changed over the years is the vocals of Blitz.  Increasingly over the years since 2010 his vocals, while still retaining his signature nasally thrash-oriented vocals, have somewhat morphed into Udo Dirkschneider of Accept fame.  It’s pretty interesting and does not bother me at all since I loved Udo’s work with Accept.

Scorched is 10 songs in 51 minutes and Overkill has never been known to write really short albums, their albums, except for their debut, hover around the 45-minute to hour-plus range and they have some difficulty streamlining parts of their songs/albums-I always wondered if this was maybe the reason for them no gaining the stardom as bands like Slayer/Anthrax or Megadeth? Regardless of this opinion, Scorched continues with the vim and vigor of punishing thrash they’ve been putting out under the Nuclear Blast label.

Opening with the title track, which is the longest song on here, at over 6 minutes.  Starting with a cool guitar solo the song then gets into a killer thrash beat, before slowing down and Blitz’ vocals sounding, as I have mentioned above, and the chorus is too darn catchy alongside the backing gang-styled vocals of the various members.  The thrash and speed is on point and this song is one of the best opening songs in recent memory for Overkill.  I cannot get the catchy chorus outta my head..it’s irritating at times.  The prominent bass guitar tone of D.D. is ever-present and there’s some melodic and atmospheric moments before the guitar solo, from the beginning enters again, almost sounding like the intro to “Thunderstruck” from AC/DC, it has that vibe.

“The Surgeon” was one of the singles released prior to the release of the album and the fast-paced vocals, in the beginning, are excellent and the lyrics: Bleeding for the martyr, we were bleeding for the Pope. We were bleeding for the victim, we were bleeding for the dope  We were bleeding for the felon as he tried to catch his breath. And the motherfucker cried out (Bleed till death).  Super catchy vocal tones and the accompanying music is quite killer as the song vacillates with the thrashy speed and mid-paced crumbling heaviness.

Dave Linsk and Derek Tailer are quite the guitar duo.  Heavy and catchy riffing which helps put Overkill out there as showing them youngins out there the older bastids still have it.  I do want to give a shout-out to the drummer Jason Bittner.  He used to be in an upstate NY death metal band, wayyy back in the day Burning Human.  We played shows with them and he was a cool dude.  I even wore the shit outta the Burning Human shirt on the Voracious Contempt Tour with IB, I still have the pics.  He’s been with Shadows Fall and Overkill now for a number of years so I am glad to see he was able to parlay his abilities to getting into bigger bands, since his drumming is awesome.  Just thought it was all worth mentioning.

“Twist of the Wick” has some devastating drum rolls and killer and catchy vocals choruses and Jason even throws in a blast beat on this song among the punishing thrash speed.  This is definitely one of the more brutal Overkill tunes and this needs to make it into their live set or I will ensure I bring up to Blitz he still owes me $5 for the 2 slices and Pepsi, from back in the fucking day in NY, next time I see him.  Anyway, the song features some cool aria-style vocals in the middle of the song, before the guitar solo erupts over the thrashy speed and the punishing double bass towards the end of the fast part will collapse chest cavities.  This is another song where the chorus refuses to leave my head and is caught in my head days on end..oh boy!

“Harder They Fall” is another good trashy song that erupts pretty quickly with the quick tempo with excellent gang-backing-styled vocals.  This is another one of my favorite tunes on the album.  The band ends the album on one of their more humorous songs, as they have written many of these songs in the, past “Bag o’ Bones”.  It’s a fun and jumpy song that rollicks along, but it’s definitely not the type of song I would end a really good thrash metal album on.

Scorched is a killer Overkill album and is so darn catchy.  I have listened to this album pretty much non-stop since receiving the promo – thanks Erik!.  The production is on point and one you would expect from a thrash metal band around this long.  Punchy, crisp and in your face.  It’s also a pretty loud recording so please crank this bad boy up in order to blow out car door windows.  This is a terrific thrash metal album filled with plenty of class and killer musicianship.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Frank Rini
April 24th, 2023

Comments

  1. Commented by: David S

    Hey Frank I used to work with Jason Bittner at a supermarket a long time ago before Burning Human hit the scene up here upstate…I can’t remember if he had joined Stigmata before then but both hands were/are beloved in the scene. I remember bringing in Death-IFP on cassette to show him and him air drumming to Gene Hoglans sick beats.

    Anyways, one of the bands we talked about here and there was Overkill and it’s just amazing to this point he has filled in for Anthrax, been a Grammy nom’d artist, sat behind the kit to play Walk with Damageplan/Dime onstage during that fateful tour, and now is (over)killing it with one of my favorites of all time. His drums sound AMAZING on this thing. Thanks for the great read and take care!


  2. Commented by: F.Rini

    Hi David-I always appreciate an old school m’fer coming out of the local scenes to share stories like this-frickin’ awesome. Anytime someone from the underground breaks through the glass ceiling and makes it, it warms my blackened heart. Agreed-the drums on this album are bludgeoning. Thanks for reading. Frank


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