When I think of the most iconic bands in thrash metal history, Overkill always gets mentioned among the greats. The squeels, the power, the fast pace, White Devil Armory has all that you would hope from an Overkill album from start to finish. Opening with Xdm, simply an intro track to the most brutally fast and aggressive thrash track I’ve heard in a few years Armorist makes me want to run around in a circle as fast as I can with my fist in the air screaming “ARMORY, ARMORY!” which I have to believe is what Bobby Blitz was going for while writing out the lyrics to this track, and all I could say was FUCK YES, and keep pushing on.
Down to the Bone is a slightly more melodic track, but I think it’s always good to be brought back to earth a little bit after a bruising track like Armorist, and it does just that, but also runs by the rules of traditional thrash by making you want to punch someone in the face, pick them up and do it all over again, and then buy him a beer. This molds into Pig quite well, another aggressive, bruising track that makes me air guitar to the best of my ability, and then into Bitter Pill, a headbangers delight that reminds us that thrash albums are built on melody just as much as fast aggressive blitz’s. Bitter Pill also allows some room for Bobby’s vocals to stand out and hear his melody come out, you know – that melody that make you love Overkill in 1987.
Where There’s Smoke, well… Where’s there’s smoke… there’s this God damn song that comes out of nowhere almost, perfectly placed after Bitter Pill, I can see Overkill trying to decide where to put this song and say “let’s fuck with them and put it right in the middle of the album.” Well, it worked…this may be my favorite track on this entire album. It absolutely destroys your senses, everything I want when I listen to an Overkill or Exodus album this song has. Then we head into Freedom Rings, and FINALLY a track with a killer bass solo (a signature of the 80’s thrash movement that’s seemingly been lost in the years after), that builds into an absolute hurricane of destruction. Is Bobby pissed off in this song? I can’t tell, but it seems like something with incredible force is driving this song through your ears.
Another Day to Die quietly tells us “he’s a stone cold killer gonna send me home” and I believe every word of it, it’s an epic, a brutal tale of a band that has had it’s struggles holding it together and not ever getting the recognition they deserved over the years. Into King of the Rat Bastards, held together riff by riff, beat for beat and Bobby Blitz’s iconic harsh melody I ask myself what year is it? Oh right, it’s 2014, but I can only tell because of the recording quality.
We end on It’s All Yours and In The Name, and a lot of times people will discount or skip on tracks at the end of a record, which is a mistake, a lot of times you will get a hidden gem sitting in the last three minutes, which is exactly what we get!
At times, I feel like Bobby’s voice takes over this record, but not in a bad way at all, but in fact all the pieces work so perfectly together that you can hear how hard Overkill tried to put together the best, most quality album they could. My personal opinion is that this album absolutely destroys from start to finish, if you’re a thrash fan you’ll love it, and if you’re simply a metal fan and have never heard an Overkill song in your life – headbang away kids, here’s a history lesson in thrash.
Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth – Vocals
D.D. Verni – Bass, Backing Vocals
Dave Linsk – Lead Guitar. Backing Vocals
Derek Tailer – Rhythm Guitar, Backing Vocals
Ron Lipnicki – Drums