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Overkill loses its soul - 30%

High_On_Maiden, November 18th, 2005

For a band that released The Years of Decay, this album just isn’t much good. It was released in 1997, and this shows painfully in a lot of the material. There is a strong ‘modern’ undercurrent to this album; a strong, BAD modern undercurrent. I’m all for bands moving their music on and so on – even bands with a grassroots thrash background – but you’d hope that a competent band like Overkill would not succumb to the trends of the late 90s metal mainstream.

The opening track, It Lives, is a bit misleading in a way, because this is quite a solid, strong-paced track if you like Pantera-style thumping metal. The modern leanings are quite obvious though, and it sets the precedent for Machine Head type guitar style, but saying this it’s one of the strongest tracks on the album, which doesn’t say a great deal for the rest.

The track Save Me could be passed off for a Marilyn Manson song, with its boringly simplistic industrial riff and drums which dominate the bulk of the track. The following track then treats us to some very mid-paced groove chugging, which the mediocre vocal melody doesn’t really save. Don’t get me wrong, this is a hell of a lot better than a lot of acts it was obviously influenced by, but nonetheless it’s really a let down up to this point.

Genocya provides a bit more speed, but this is fragmentary and frankly doesn’t make up for the tormented vocals which aren’t completely detached from nu metal. Surely they are aware that this sort of thing can’t make up for the lack of riffs? Oh, and there goes the next track as well, Half Past Dead. Finished. Completely unmentionable.

Where are the fucking riffs?

Finally, some thrash! Well, to a degree. I knew it would be buried somewhere. F.U.C.T. is an enjoyable enough song, with a bit more effort given to constructing riffs rather than just rhythmic passages. Even here though, I don’t find the melodies particularly enjoyable. The drums keep up, but throughout this album I find them annoyingly pounding, which tends to accentuate the emptiness of the riffs. But then we’re back to the characterless sludge which sums up this album – this is the kind of music I’d get irritated by if played at a venue or something: this isn’t what I should be thinking about Overkill! Next track just as disappointing, like something Metallica would have shoved on Load or Reload.

Promises is a fairly competently executed ballad, which gives the listener a rest from the unidentifiable riffs. Congratulations.

The final track is your best chance to head bang I suppose, and harks back somewhat to The Years of Decay -era effortless rocking. It’s a good track, although placing it at the end only enhances the feeling that the band is capable of so much better. This is a very disappointing album which ranges from the mediocre to the downright bad. This could have been such a crushing album, because the production is monstrous! But they seem to have missed every opportunity to write an intelligent riff.

I don’t understand how so many people can rave about the consistency of Overkill’s career with this black hole lingering in their back catalogue. Just don’t buy it.