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Just a year before “Feel the Fire” came out, Overkill released this EP. According to them it’s their first album, according to everyone else it’s their first studio release but it’s not a real album. However you look at it, this is an incredibly influential EP. Three of the songs on here would go on to be re-recorded for subsequent releases: “Rotten to the Core”, “Overkill” on “Feel the Fire” and “Fatal If Swallowed” on “Taking Over”. The fourth song, “The Answer” is not only the one song from this EP that was not re-recorded but also the only song on this EP to not appear anywhere else in the Overkill discography. They didn’t record a demo of it or even record it live for a live album. This is surprising to me because, at 8 minutes long, it’s the longest song they had written up to this point and the most unique.
What makes “The Answer” so unique is its overall pace. Here we have a thrash band playing a doom metal song, and they do it damn well. I’ve actually always found that my favourite Overkill songs are the slow ones (“The Answer”, “Feel the Fire”, “Drunken Wisdom”, “Skullkrusher”, “Horrorscope”, etc.). They do the slow-fast thing really well and this song does pick up a bit around 5 minutes in for a solo section. This song also has some rather epic lyrics, especially with that pause for “And I’m…. The Devil’s son!”
“Rotten to the Core”, in all of its incarnations, has been the highlight of every Overkill release it has been on. Be it here on the “Overkill EP”, on “Feel the Fire” or on any live recording. Here it is certainly a force to be reckoned with. The raw production of this EP gives it a primal energy that “Feel the Fire” fails to achieve, and “Feel the Fire” is a great album. This whole EP is like that. The production isn’t bad per se but it gives this the feeling of a live recording, even though it isn’t.
Talking about primal energy, a youthful (25 at this point) Blitz gives one of the most energetic performances of his whole career on here. He sings, screams, and shouts his way through these four classic songs with such passion but at the same time sounding completely evil. The screams Blitz pulls off here are absolutely insane and, aided by the raw production, are unbelievable vicious.
Overall, this EP is historically significant and is a great listen. Perhaps not as essential as their official debut but is worth getting. If you’re an Overkill fan chances are you’ve heard the first three songs before on other releases, it’s still worth buying for the intensity the production brings and for “The Answer”.