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Overkill – White Devil Armory

Label: eOne Music
Format: CD
Released: 2014
Reviewed By: Rich Catino
Rating: 8/ 10


Being a Jersey guy, Overkill have been one of my favorite bands since day one discovering Heavy Metal in the early 80s. “Taking Over” still one of my favorite thrash albums and never gets old. “White Devil Armory” is album #17 in their long history and forms a nice trilogy with the sonic electricity of “Ironbound” and “Electric Age”. Clearly, Overkill (Bobby Blitz and DD Verni, guitarists Linsk and Tailer since 2000, and Lipnicki on drums)are one of the few who don’t have to live on just the music of their past to be relevant in 2014.

 

Now, I do like this album, the first half is smoking, but its not the fast thrashers that makes this strong. Let me explain…after the dark dramatic opening 50 sec intro ‘XDM’, I really was hoping for something a little less obvious than the straight ahead ‘Armorist’. It’s not bad, full of energy and Killaitude, but predictable and too familiar a delivery to fast songs on “Ironbound” and “Electric Age”. ‘Down To The Bone’ is better choice to open with (for me), follows and keeps up the intensity. The change in riffs, melodic leads, and tempo for the verse and chorus are solid for variety. ‘PIG’ out the door is a punkish attitude boot to the face and…what kinda gasoline is Ron fueling up on to play drums?? Damn!. ‘Where There’s Smoke’... wow, just like being run over by a stampede of buffalo, and it feels damn good. Lol .

‘Bitter Pill’, and here on out, is where I really like the songs. The quiet start, guitars leads/melody, building to the punchy verses, the Sabbath riff change…I even think this one could have a been another good album opener, just for something different. Its songs like this, ‘Freedom Rings’, ‘Another Day To Die’ (great to hear DD’s bass come through), ‘King of the Rat Bastards’, that are still heavy, constructed within a thrash movement, but more imaginative riffing, tempos switch up during the song, a couple gallops, arrangements that remind me of the variety on albums “Years Of Decay” and “Horrorscope”. And to boot, these songs are what allows Bobby Blitz (the most unique voice in thrash metal) to really delivery his personality in tone, annunciation, and style.

Switch up the running order, the delivery for maybe two of the fast ones and it’s a 10/10 . So glad this metal machine represents Jersey in the history books.

And while I’m at it… including “Devil Armory”, after the last three Overkill and Exodus albums, two from Testament, and two from Death Angel, Slayer are in a rut, Anthrax got their groove back, and looks like Megadeth will be getting back on track with “Endgame” for the new album. But I don’t know how Metallica haven’t stepped up their game.

 
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