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SHREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEED!!!! - 89%

radiohater, December 15th, 2003

The Scene

Overkill's followup to 1987's Taking Over. This recording also marks the debut of drummer Sid Falck.

The Result

The result is an album that is much more aggressive than the previous Overkill recordings. The riffing takes on a schizophrenic approach as Overkill becomes a more menacing thrash monster.

The Cast

Bobby "Blitz" Ellsworth (vocals) - Blitz here sounds more gravelly and seems to push his vocal range a little more. His delivery here starts getting more over the top, especially in Mad Gone World and Hello From The Gutter. He also starts to employ his trademark snarl here too.

Bobby Gustafson (guitars) - Bobby's riffing here takes on a more schizophrenic approach, with him adding/subtracting extra beats here and there (see the verses of Shred in particular) along with an all-out odd time section in the middle of Brainfade. His soloing is still the quick and sloppy soloing that has characterised his work, but shows in areas that he can
play melodically, as evidenced in End Of The Line.

Carlos "D.D." Verni (bass) - D.D. again follows Gustafson, and also locks in nicely with Falck to create a nice driving rhythm section.

Bob "Sid" Falck (drums) - Previously of Battlezone, English newcomer Sid Falck appears on drums and wastes no time making his presence felt. He hits the drums much harder than his predecessor Rat Skates, and has more speed, precision and power. Although not as fill-happy as he is on later releases, Falck still takes the quick opportunities to further pound his kit
into submission, and also shows some nice double-bass use.

The Sound

The production was handled by Overkill themselves with Alex Perialas, and you can see the difference Overkill's input has made to the sound. The guitars are now beefier and less muffled, the bass is more distorted and prominent in the mix. The drums are also mixed better having a more clean sound to them, with a loud snare and less hi-hat.

Choice Cuts

Shred - Does exactly what the title says. Starts off with a neckbreaking riff much faster than anything they'd done previously (and as far as I know, since!). Features some off timed verses courtesy of Gustafson, and with the fast-paced riff reappearing repeatedly during the song, closing with it and Blitz's piercing "SHREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEED!"

Hello From The Gutter - This song got made into a video. It features a nice odd-timed riff and some of Blitz's most over-the-top vocals on the disc. Also featured here is an extended melodic solo from Gustafson.

Brainfade - A good venomous song on offer here, with some really catchy riffs and one of the best choruses on the disc. Some of Blitz's most sarcastic lyrics appear here too. Also features a totally off-time solo section that sounds completely chaotic.

Drunken Wisdom - Begins with a nice acoustic intro before turning into a Sabbath-esque grinder, before speeding up in the solo section. The heaviest cut on the disc.

End Of The Line - A nice headbanging number with a good chorus and some mice aggressive riffing. The real highlight is the slow clean section on which Gustafson bases his first solo. Very melodic and well executed, with the best solo on the album here too.

Off Cuts

Mad Gone World - This one tries to fit a million different riffs into the one song without success. There's no real flow to the song and the chorus is totally out of place.

Raw Sewage

From early Overkill? No way!

Pros

- Crazier arrangements
- Improved drumming
- Clearer production

Cons

- Sometimes too chaotic for its own good (see Mad Gone World)
- Blitz's voice may be off-putting

Closing Comments

This is where Overkill become the thrash monster that they are best known for. Essential for any thrash fan.