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Where Does Overkill’s New Album, “Scorched”, Rank In Their Sprawling Back Catalogue?

'killin' it!

Overkill are thrash metal legends. But with such a huge back catalogue to devour (20 full length studio albums and counting), where the hell do you start? 

There’s also the small matter of new album, Scorched, to review and rank!

Well, fear not, thrash lovers. We’ve re-assessed Overkill’s entire back catalogue and done the hard work for you…. 


20. ReliXIV (2005)

Overkill – ReliXIV (2005, CD) - Discogs

ReliXIV may not be Overkill’s best work – in fact, it’s far from it – but it is an ‘Overkill album’ and by that we mean it’s exactly what you’d want and expect from Bobby Blitz and DD Verni and co. on full-length album number 13 (the XIV in the title includes the Overkill EP from 1984). Heavy on the groove, the air-raid siren vocals and some time-honoured ‘old-school’ thrashing, Overkill in 2005 were still proving more than relevant after 25 years in the business!

While ReliXIV may not be an Overkill classic, it’s still obvious that the boys were certainly not resting on their laurels –  an alien concept to these hard-workin’ grafters – and the likes of “Bats In The Belfry” and “A Pound Of Flesh” were 100% thrash; pure of heart and devoid of pretension.

“Love” may have divided opinion but it’s groove-heavy riffing and infectious chorus – including a cracking Bobby “Blitz” vocal performance – raises the hackles in a fist-pumping, teeth-clenched manner all too often missing from modern metal. 6/10

Not quite as ‘everlasting’ as perhaps hoped….

19. Immortalis (2007)

Immortalis: Amazon.co.uk: CDs & Vinyl

Immortalis, album number 15(!), is a confusing beast. On one hand, it thrash’s hard and refuses to acknowledge changes in trends – an admirable trait Overkill have pretty much followed since day one – and takes no prisoners. On the other hand, it is just ‘another’ Overkill album, hardly indistinguishable from any other mid-period release and consequently lacking in identity.

Strangely, opener “Devils In The Mist” doesn’t hit with the velocity of the usual opening Overkill track and it falls to “What It Takes” and “Skull And Bones” to amp up the atmosphere to Overkill’s usually blistering levels. The latter features Lamb Of God’s Randy Blythe dueting with Bobby “Blitz” and while his cameo appears to have divided opinion there’s no doubting Randy’s presence adds ground-shaking gravitas to a groove metal/thrash metal knock-out blow of pretty epic proportions!

Concluding with a welcome return to their ‘Overkill’ saga which began way back on their Feel The Fire full-length debut, “Overkill V… The Brand” recalls the relative simplicity of the original (Part 1) by cutting back on the epic nature of Parts 2 & 3 and settling into a mid-paced staccato groove that ups the creepy atmospherics and drives forward with a devilish glee.

Overall, a solid Overkill release, no more no less. 6/10

Time to kill?….

18. The Killing Kind (1996)

Overkill - The Killing Kind | Releases | Discogs

The first Overkill album to feature Joe Comeau (Liege Lord Annihilator) and Sebastian Marino (Anvil) on vocals/guitar and guitar respectively, 1996’sThe Killing Kind may have proved a considerable shock to those who had enjoyed the return to all-out thrash on 1994’s W.F.O! Adopting the mid-paced sonic onslaught and steam-rolling groove metal that would serve them well for the following 4 years, the stoically solid likes of “Battle” and “God-Like“, the classic Iron Maiden-esque opening of “The Cleansing” and the thrash-frenzy of overall highlight “Feeding Frenzy” proved pretty irresistible if ears were open to this abrupt change in Overkill’s style!

Overkill’s 8th album deserves to be lauded for its brave attempt to evolve and many of its facets can be heard in Overkill’s material to this very day. The songs may be fairly straight-forward in construct, lacking the dynamite dynamics of earlier ‘thrashier’ work, but The Killing Kind has aged fairly well and should appeal to those Overkill fans accustomed to the groovier elements of their back catalogue. 6/10

Shine on you thrash diamonds….

17. Necroshine (1999)

Necroshine by Overkill on Apple Music

What an opener! The self-titled opening track hits like a runaway freight train, revving everything up to fever-pitch levels of excitement and lifting hopes that Overkill’s 10th album was going to be a modern classic. In reality, the rest of the album failed to match the intensity and fiendishly catchy song-writing craft of “Necroshine”, with only “Forked Tongued Kiss” and “I Am Fear” coming remotely close.

With Joe Comeau (Liege Lord Annihilator) on board at this point in their career, Overkill experimented fairly wildly with their trademark sound, confident enough to tinker with expectation and the likes of “80 Cycles” proved they were still as adept at all-out thrashin’ as they were aping the groove metal ferocity of Pantera and Machine Head etc. For the majority of the time this approach worked – convincing enough to certainly warrant exploring further – but a line-up change was again coming and this ‘version’ of Overkill proved relatively fairly short-lived.

Somewhat of an anomaly in their formidable back catalogue, Necroshine is a love it or hate it Overkill album. Those who love it will appreciate the moderate change in direction and the anvil-heavy riffs that crush and pulverise, while the haters will miss the blistering thrash of old. Whichever camp you fall into, Necroshine is still an album well worthy of a spin or two. 6/10

Raining blood….

16. Bloodletting (2000)

Overkill – Bloodletting (2000, CD) - Discogs

After the relatively obscure nature of the previous year’s Necroshine, long-time fans of Overkill must have a breathed a heavy sigh of relief when Bloodletting opener “Thunderhead” blasted out of the speakers. Thrashier than an S&M whip-a-thon, the feral ferocity Overkill appeared to have shelved was unleashed once more; heavy enough to “wake the dead” and a considerably effective opener to a considerably effective album.

Again, Bloodletting appears to receive a mixed reaction but there’s some truly great songs contained within and if “Death Comes Out To Play” fails to snap those neck-muscles in two then maybe thrash isn’t actually be your thing! With the thrash-ante upped immeasurably, you’d be forgiven for thinking that a return to the glories of Taking Over or The Years Of Decay had occurred…. and while those classics are referenced, Overkill had evolved enough to incorporate the two ages of their sound.

While faithful thrashers are sufficiently catered for, so too are fans of Overkill’s groove era; pile-driving semi-ballad “Blown Away” providing the drama and devilish atmospherics to counter-balance the blinding speed of Bloodletting‘s thrashier moments. 7/10

About Chris Jennings (1976 Articles)
I love metal. Always have. Always will. As editor of Worship Metal - a site dedicated to being as positive about metal and its myriad of sub-genres as possible - my aim is to 'worship' metal through honest reviews, current news and a wide variety of features; offering the same exposure to underground bands as we do to mainstream/well known acts. Our mantra; the bands are partners and we exist to serve the bands \m/

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