Overkill: The Electric Age Review

Overkill: The Electric Age ReviewOverkill has always been one of those bands that I could never understand why they never got huge. When people talk about the “Big Four,” Overkill is always in the conversation alongside Testament and Exodus. While I could never justify Overkill being part of the “Big Four,” they are one hell of a band and I have a long history with them. During my high school days, and I am aging myself here, Feel the Fire and Taking Over were huge. Hell, if you went back a little further, you would know that Power in Black was Overkill’s first demo and it contained a lot of what became Feel the Fire. The Power in Black demos were huge in the underground tape trading scene where we traded demos from bands such as Metallica, Slayer and more.

During the old days of Overkill, I could never get enough of them. Once The Years of Decay came out, they took their sound to a whole new level. That album is simply crushing. That one was followed by Horrorscope, which was underrated. There are some classics on there. W.F.O, The Killing Kind and From the Underground and Below were amazing albums as well. After that point, I would not say that they fell off my radar, but I was never quite taken by their albums. Every time I listen to those albums, I ask myself why I do not listen to them more, but then it takes me forever to get back to them again.

With all that being said, I guess that I should actually talk about The Electric Age, which is the latest entry into the discography of these thrash metal masters. From the opening riffs, you know that you are listening to Overkill. You have that classic thrash sound that Overkill seems to be the best at doing and then the undeniable presence of D.D. Verni’s bass (listen to my interview with D.D. Verni). The one thing that is ever present in Overkill’s sound are that amazing bass sound and Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth’s vocals. Blitz is still as powerful as ever with those raspy vocals. He is one of the best thrash metal vocalists of all time. Love or hate his voice, but it has defined thrash through the years.

With The Electic Age, the first thing that pops in your mind is that they may never stop bringing the metal. They are as heavy as ever and they do what they do well. After all, The Electic Age is their sixteenth album. Not many bands can say that.

The beginning of the album is simply crushing. “Come and Get It,” “Electric Rattlesnake” and “Wish You Were Dead” are just damn good song any way you slice it. After those three though, the songs are just good. They are just not anything special though. They start to blend into each other and they start to get awfully repetitive. I have a big pet peeve with repetition, so that is not to say that everyone will not be taken by them, but for me, some of them border on annoying.

With all of that being said, what The Electric Age is missing is that classic track that every Overkill album has where you stop and say “this song is worth the purchase price alone.” Perhaps “Come and Get It” may be that song someday, but right now, it lacks the punch of songs like “Battle, “It Lives,” etc,

Overall, the album is very strong and thrash fans not familiar with Overkill (shame on you) will really get into it. For me, I expect more, but that is not putting this album down in any way. I would listen to it any day of the week and be happy.

The Electric Age Tracklist
“Come and Get It” – 6:17
“Electric Rattlesnake” – 6:19
“Wish You Were Dead” – 4:19
“Black Daze” – 3:55
“Save Yourself” – 3:43
“Drop the Hammer Down” – 6:25
“21st Century Man” – 4:12
“Old Wounds, New Scars” – 4:11
“All Over But the Shouting” – 5:30
“Good Night” – 5:36

Overkill Personnel:
Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth – Lead vocals
Dave Linsk – Lead guitar, Backing vocals
Derek “The Skull” Tailer – Rhythm guitar, Backing vocals
D.D. Verni – Bass, Backing vocals
Ron Lipnicki – Drums

  • I know Metallica is one of the highest grossing metal bands of all time. I would think Pantera has out sold Megadeth and Slayer. Slayer has only had one or maybe 2 cds ever in the billboard top ten. I think Megadeth has had 3. With Countdown debuting at number 2. Pantera has had 2 debut at number one. Anthrax had Sound of White Noise debut in the top ten…and I want to say that is the bands only top ten cd. As Char knows, when I was in college I did college radio. Music is my life. I turned people onto bands like Warrior Soul, Mind Funk, Mordred, Last Crack, my boys in NY…Bullet Lavolta and etc..My big 5 show was in 1998. It was Sick of it all, Meshuggah, Spineshank, Fear Factory with Slayer…..Burton after the show with the Spineshank guys were talking to all of us forever at the bar. Hey Char, if you are reading this…we can land Kory Clarke on our podcast..I would be very happy.

  • Ooh. I forgot about I Hear Black in my list of some of their better albums. That was huge for me in college. I used to work out with the Temple football team and I got them all turned onto it.

    I understand the Big Four though. They are going by record sales, so they have to give Anthrax that fourth spot, but honestly, they are so far below the other three that it should really be the Big Three and no one would complain about bands like Testament being left out. No one would ever say that Slayer should not be there instead of Testament, but Testament fans have a lot of room to argue that Testament has every right to be there over Anthrax.

  • I love Overkill as well. Horrorscope to me is an amazing cd. I hear black, WFO….I am like you Mike, how could this band never be huge? I would also like to throw in Metal Church and Trouble. When the big 4 line up was announced, I agreed with it…but how can you not have Testament, Overkill, Metal Church, Exodus, god there are so many metal bands that never got their due. Sacred Reich, Savatage, MOD, Death Angel, Voivod, Nuclear Assault, DRI, I could really go all week on metal bands that should have been huge. The new Overkill, I love that they stick to their guns and this cd, if you are a Overkill fan you get what you come to expect..you will not be letdown.