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Overkill's finest hour - 100%

Superreallycool, October 8th, 2014
Written based on this version: 1991, 12" vinyl, Megaforce Records

Ah Horrorscope, my favorite Overkill record. I've contemplated reviewing it for the past two days, but haven't done so until now out of fear that I won't be able to express my true feelings for this album (God that sounded weird). In simple terms, this is what thrash metal should be. No album truly encapsulates thrash quite as well as this album does here. It merges both atmosphere, speed, and pushes how heavy thrash can be before it morphs itself into something else entirely. Of all the bands that weren't included in the big 4, Overkill always has been the one that I felt deserved to be in there, and this album is proof enough of why they should be a part of it.

The first thing you'll notice is that for a thrash album, the amount of atmosphere here is almost startling. Few artist have ever managed to put out an album with this much and this quality atmosphere, even though a plethora have attempted to. While it takes a back seat to the truly astonishing songs found on this album, the atmosphere created here is no small feat, and one of the things that makes this record stand out.

And as I just mentioned, the songs here are just astonishing. Overkill are usually associated with thrash metal, there are many times that Overkill leaves thrash metal here, most notably the slow, sluggishness found on the title track, it's pure sludge. The title track, "Coma", and "New Machine" all make my top 10 Overkill songs, and the rest aren't too far behind. The album is never short on quality, and the variation of tempo is a real treat. If you need diversity in tracks, by metal standards this album isn't too bad, not too bad at all.

Up to this point, Overkill never had great lyrics. They weren't meant to really, that wasn't who they were. But, with bands like Anthrax and Nuclear Assault on the scene, people really started to appreciate intelligent lyrics. Many fans were scared concerning the departure of Bobby Gustafson, who was a key songwriter. Fortunately these fears were quickly forgotten, due to the better lyrics, larger sonic palate, and boosted composition complexity. Most of the lyrics here have better flow to them, and are overall simply better written. While they never wrote songs about politics like Nuclear Assault, they didn't need to, nor should they have. It simply wasn't who Overkill was, and the lyrics are a great fit to the music. Over all, this is just simply a more mature Overkill, and the lyrics are a great display of this.

It's really a shame that this was released in 1991. Because of this, the album was released just as much of the "alternative" music fan base was turning to grunge, meaning Overkill's crowning achievement went unheard except by the Overkill devout, and because the following Overkill albums were quite weak, they never appealed to grunge fans who may have wanted something heavier.

Heard or not, this is a great album, no way around it. No matter what kind of metal fan you are, you're doing yourself a great disservice if you've never listened through it at least once. Bobby's voice as usual takes some getting used to, but once you do get used to him, you'll start to love him, and if you're like me think of him as one of the best metal vocalist out there, who is still going strong in his 50's. This is a great album and it's one you really, really should own.