Overkill - 2003 Killbox 13

ARTIST: Overkill
ALBUM: Killbox 13
LABEL: Spitfire Rrcords
YEAR: 2003

LINEUP: Bobby 'Blitz' Ellsworth - vocals * DD Verni - bass * Derek Tailer - guitar * Tim Mallare - drums * Dave Linsk - guitar

TRACK LISTING: 01 Devil By The Tail * 02 Damned * 03 No Lights * 04 The One * 05 Crystal Clear * 06 The Sound Of Dying * 07 Until I Die * 08 Struck Down * 09 Unholy * 10 I Rise


Overkill, along with the likes of Testament and Exodus, are regarded as one of the kings of thrash metal, with classic albums such as 'Feel The Fire' and 'Years Of Decay'.

I was under the impression that Overkill were dead and buried, swept aside by the change in musical climate in the early/mid 90's. My recent research into the band has proven completely otherwise, with Overkill releasing a number of albums in the past few years and to this day a have an extremely strong fanbase.

This is getting close to being a bit too heavy for my tastes but I'm going to give it a go nonetheless. One of Overkill's previous albums is titled 'Wrecking Your Neck', and that's probably what's going to happen listening to an entire Overkill album.

They've certainly got the heaviness side of things sorted, but I'm actually surprised by some of the melodies coming through, especially Bobby Blitz's vocals. He's no Geoff Tate or the like, but within his somewhat growly style there is a genuine attempt to keep it melodious like that of Mike Howe from Metal Church, trying to sing rather than scream.

The Songs

The opening salvo of 'Devil By The Tail' has a thumping bass line from DD and good vocal work by Blitz on the chorus. DD's bass dominates again on 'Damned' along with some very heavy and infectious riffing from Derek and Dave.

Overkill drop it down a notch from the speed/thrash of the previous two tracks on 'No Lights'. Mid tempo and crunchier at first it does accelerate toward it's conclusion. 'The One' has an excellent start with old school metal riffing and some brilliant soloing over the top. An all round classic metal track.

I had to check if 'Crystal Clear' was a Black Sabbath cover considering how Iommi inspired the riff is. A mix of Doom and Trash, one of the least likeable tracks on the album. It's back to what Overkill do best on 'Sound Of Dying', old school meets modern riffing and Blitz sounding at his best.

'Until I Die' is an ethereal ballad that doesn't do much apart from a thrashy mid section. I was struck down in shock when I heard the solo to 'Struck Down'. Absolutely brilliant and melodic, the song itself being a mix of thrash Judas Priest-type metal. Blitz and the boys finish things off in great style on the final two tracks.

'Unholy' is nowhere near as heavy as the title might suggest, rather taking a melodic speed metal route. Quite melodic and a cool chorus. Though 'On The Rise' has a fairly modern metal feel to it but it also has plenty of speed and energy.

In Summary

Before I reviewed this album I was completely unaware of Overkill's continued career through the 90's into the new millenium. To find that I like what I'm hearing from a band I paid no attention to and had written off as not my cup-of-tea is a big surprise.

Overkill tread a line that fits well between traditional old-school metal and the new breed - plenty of heaviness but a good dose of melody as well. I mentioned that I thought this might be too heavy for me - not any more. Thanks Overkill, I'm suitably wrecked.

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    I don't know who wrote this review, but it certainly wasn't me. I could never see myself writing 'This is getting close to being a bit too heavy for my tastes .' There's no such thing as 'too heavy.'
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    OK I'll recheck it. Prob Lee Aspin (King of sunset town).
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    Yeah, if you ever wrote something was too heavy I'd do a Peter about Jesus and deny I ever knew you.
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    Brotherly love right..
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    Absolutely. It works the other way round too, of course. The only way it's excusable is if one of us gets struck down by Alzheimer's. Then it's okay to develop a taste exclusively for the musical charms of Paul Robeson and Edith Piaf.
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