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While I found some good moments in the last few Overkill albums, I have found them to be somewhat lesser additions to the band's discography and wondered how much time they had left as a group. I wasn't sure how this album would compare to the ones before it but figured that it'd end up being your "typical" Overkill album. To my surprise, my perceptions went through a complete overhaul as this release ended up being even stronger than I had anticipated.
As suggested by the appropriately metallic album art and a unique sounding mix courtesy of Hypocrisy bandleader Peter Tägtgren, "Ironbound" brings about a band that is heavier and more aggressive than the Overkill that many of us have gotten used to in recent years. Most of the songs on here go at an extremely fast pace with a few more complex structures coming into play on occasion. Of course, the album still has plenty of catchy moments with "Bring Me the Night" in particular serving as an excellent anthem and one of my personal favorite songs.
The band's performance also seems to have gotten more focused on this effort and the "new" line-up finally shows some chemistry that hasn't been seen in this group for quite a while. Guitarists Derek Tailer and Dave Linsk finally come into their own with some powerful riffs and solos that are sure to eliminate any brooding memories of past guitarists that are still in the fans' collective conscious. Vocalist Bobby Ellsworth also delivers another strong performance, generally sticking to his signature rasps and wails though showing some croons on "Give A Little" and borderline growls on "The Head And Heart." Unfortunately, DD Verni's bass playing doesn't stand out as much as usual though the backing vocals on this album may be some of his best to date.
While the somewhat dry production may give the album a somewhat distant feel in comparison to past efforts, I think this album's one flaw may be the derivative tendency that has popped up on past Overkill efforts. Many songs on here have moments that recall classic Metallica and Megadeth. While it may be my favorite song on the album, "Bring Me The Night" may be somewhat off-putting to some as it is more or less a rewrite of "The Prince" by Diamond Head. Fortunately, it doesn't get in the way too often and may reinforce the album's classic feel.
With the release of this album, it's safe to say that Overkill has made their version of "Tempo Of The Damned." All of the songs on here are powerfully constructed and the overall effort will be pretty damn hard to top as one of my 2010 favorites, let alone one of my favorites in the Overkill discography. Here's hoping they'll be able to keep this momentum going with their next one!
My Current Favorites:
"The Green And Black," "Ironbound," "Bring Me The Night," "Give A Little," and "The Head And Heart."