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Overkill – Immortalis

Label: Bodog Music
Format: CD
Released: 2007
Reviewed By: Rich Catino


I must start this review with a quote from my mom of all people…. "My brain is a maze with the rats trying to get out", and that was her honest reaction after hearing only about two minutes from lead off track 'Devils in the Mist'. Mom continued to say, as Bobby Blitz did some of his trademark screams towards the end of the song, "I don’t know how this music doesn’t drive you insane"”. So if you question whether Overkill has lost any of their edge in ’07 I think mom summed things up with very few words.

 

"Immortalis" is the New Jersey thrashers 14th studio album since releasing their "Power in Black" E.p. in 1984. The lineup remains relatively intact since 2000’s "Bloodletting" with of course long standing original members Bobby "Blitz" Ellsworth on vocals and DD Verni on bass, Dave Linsk and Derek Tailer on guitars and newest member Ron Lipnicki on drums making his recording debut.

Now with "Immortalis" Overkill have tapped more into their thrash roots, as opposed to the more groove based last two releases "Relix IV" and "Killbox 13", with 'Hellish Pride' and 'Walk Through Fire' (where I do hear some composition elements creeping in once used on "The Years of Decay") demonstrating this.

Like King Diamond has done with his latest album, Overkill have in a similar fashion combine a lot of musical ideas from their past and more recent present to make for a hell of a strong disc. For example the riffing in 'Head On' comes across similar to what they were doing at the time of "From the Underground and Below" and 'Shadow of a Doubt' recalling some arrangement ideas from 1994’s "W.F.O." record. 'What it Takes' goes back to “Necroshine” from 1999 with the usage of backing vocals and again within the riffing and musical changes.

For something different in the Overkill world, 'Skull and Bones' offers the first duet for the band with Randy Blythe from Lamb of God trading verses with Blitz. I don’t know how much I like the melodic vocal line by Blitz with the accompanying guitars I think it’s a bit bland, but Randy’s parts are well placed adding a complimenting attitude and intensity.

The 'Overkill' saga continues (which I was hoping they would revisit at some point) in 'Overkill V' (there is 'Overkill' Parts I,II,III with 'Evil Never Dies' counting as Part 'IV'). 'Part V' recalls the classic use of the guitars heard on 'Overkill III' (found on "Under the Influence") and the guitar melody line has returned giving the track an even more classic Overkill feel. There is even those odd stop…start Overkill type changes that made "Under the Influence" genuine. I just wish the song was maybe a bit longer to give it more of an epic feel.

"Immortalis" is an example to how it is done, that artistic respect and longevity only happens to the best of us after many years of staying true to who and what you are. One of their best in more recent years.

 
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