Album Review: OVERKILL – ‘Live In Overhausen’ (Nuclear Blast)

OVERKILL are a legendary thrash metal band, formed in 1980 in New Jersey. They have gone through many line-up changes, leaving bassist D. D. Verni and lead vocalist Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth as the only constant members. OVERKILL‘s current lineup also includes Dave Linsk on lead guitar, Derek Tailer on rhythm guitar and Jason Bittner on drums.

The band are masters of the crunchy thrash that the 1980’s spawned.  They eat and drink metal music and Blitz is a renowned singer within the genre, being one of the godfathers of thrash, along with James Hetfield of METALLICA and Chuck Billy of TESTAMENT.  They have a significant library of studio albums (nineteen in total), including the stone cold classics ‘Under The Influence’ (1988) and ‘Horrorscope’ (1999).

This record is their first live release since 2002 and, to mark their thirty-plus years of mayhem, they decided to play and record two classic albums (debut ‘Feel The Fire’ and the aforementioned ‘Horrorscope’) in their entirety.  Furthermore, where better to play these but in Germany, a country renowned for its hardcore OVERKILL and metal fans?

The first album out of the traps is 1991’s classic ‘Horrorscope’.  It is like a fantastic time machine transporting you sonically through the metal heavens.  To hear songs with the power and passion of ‘Infectious‘ and ‘Coma‘ is a true treat.  The band are as tight as ever, sounding like they were having 100,000 volts being passed through them.   The crowd is very much part of this energy burst, chanting the band’s name at every opportunity.

Blitz works the German crowd with charisma and rough charm, thanking them for changin their town name from Underhausen to Overhausen for the event.  He talks up the two records like a true fan and fronts up like a snotty fourth grader standing up to the class bully.  He can also sing with a range and power that would make other singers of his age weep.  No blown out voice for Blitz.

The sound is crystal clear as the band ends out ‘Horrorscope’ with the very enigmatic ‘Soulitude’.  It has a vibe that makes it so special and I love the guitar sound on it.  There may be a bit of an obvious comparison with certain songs from another famous Thrash band, but it still rocks.  I highly rate how OVERKILL add to their thrash sonics with dashes of more classic rock.

The band then move on to their aggressive album ‘Feel The Fire’.  The speeding broadside of ‘Raise The Dead‘ kills the crowd stone dead with delirium.  The clear sound spits out the penetrative bass of Verni. who is the heartbeat of the band.  It has a definite NWOBHM vive to the song and is quickly followed by killer tracks ‘Rotten To The Core‘ and so on.

OVERKILL are one of the most consistent live and recording bands around.  They are quality and know how to work a crowd into a frenzy.  You can understand how they have survived in the business for so long and have been so successful.   This live album pays homage to two fantastic records and does nothing to stain the band’s credibility for quality control.  Nice!

 

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