April 13, 2023

If anyone had asked the two original members of Overkill whether they would be releasing their 20th album and nearly four decades from their debut EP then there is a every possibility of much laughter and probably words akin to “not a chance” but here we are with that very album in the form of Scorched.

And this is a band that has had some career over those 40 years and remaining consistent during turbulent times and when thrash was something of a dirty word, the New Jersey boys still brought out quality metal albums. When the thrash renaissance finally happened, it almost felt like Overkill was smirking and said “what kept ya?”. It has not always been about the thrash, though with Overkill never afraid to dabble with new sounds, 1991’s Horrorscope – the band’s best-selling album to date – kept the thrash but brought the melody and 1993’s I Hear Black was a more groove laden affair taking inspiration from blues and stoner influences. Throughout the tail end of the 1990s and into the new millennium Overkill has continued to release albums and while a few weaker moments cannot be avoided, Overkill’s career has been one of the most consistent in not just thrash but metal in general.

It has been four long years since Overkill’s last album The Wings Of War which was a solid album but new record Scorched immediately presents itself as a much leaner effort in comparison to its predecessor and also an album that does bring new ideas to the table. Make no mistake, Scorched is 100% Overkill and would not be otherwise with an uncompromising opener and a nasty, rictus grin bruiser that just also happens to be the title track and a snappy riff fest with Bobby ‘Blitz’ Ellesworth’s (in)famous snarl dripping from its jaws. Songs such as Goin’ Home hark back to Overkill’s 1980’s era and The Surgeon – which was the first taster for the album is such a bone crunching with a blistering mean streak running through it. Twist Of The Wick has a ominously slow intro becoming a flurry of guitar becoming what could be considered a ‘typical’ Overkill track. It is the next two tunes that Scorched takes an interesting turn with Wicked Place having a blues feel whereas Fever is a lumbering Sabbath-like tune that has less snarl from Blitz and but there is that shiver in the bones that a song is building up to something and the groove in the last third is just sublime. With Harder They fall picking up the pace again followed by the stomping Know Her Name and the album closes with the judder of Bag O’ Bones which as well as having an impressive solo also sounds like a lot of fun to play and shows Overkill at their best in terms of not necessarily sounding like themselves.

Sonically, Scorched is a mighty fine album and Colin Richardson’s production is absolutely nailed on but the performance from all the band, DD Verni’s bass tone is as glorious as ever and there is some class work behind the kit courtesy of Jason Bittner; Blitz seems to get better the older and more grizzled he gets but hats off the to the guitar pairing of Dave Links and Derek Tailer who both leave a trail of excellent guitar destruction throughout the album, it is real powerhouse and electrifying throughout the album.

Overkill has more than earned its stripes in terms of output and quality albums. It is quite incredible that when some would be looking at what could be perceived as the twilight of their career and not exactly turning out their best material that Overkill is doing exactly the opposite. In fact, Scorched is Overkill sounding as vital as any time over their long career.

Sure enough, for anyone that could never get on with Overkill, then Scorched will hardly change minds but for existing fans or for anyone that wants a superbly cut album with some twists and turns then….the Wrecking Crew is here to walk all over you.

Scorched is released on 14 April via Nuclear Blast Records and is available to pre-order now