Prepare thyself world for the post ‘shitdemic’ riff ridden savagery of Overkill at their very, very finest…EVER.
The news of an Overkill album has always been most welcome in my world, but with the coming of the twentieth offering, one feels somewhat justified in expecting something special. What was not reasonable to expect at this stage of their career and well-established signature sound, was a groundbreaking collection of metal magnificence that sets an entirely new standard for used of the term triumphant.
From the opening solo on the title track, and the sheer brilliance that follows, the hairs elevate on the back of the neck, goosebumps appear on the epidermis, your breath is held for a moment and your heart skips a beat as the excitement of Overkill at their very best becomes apparent.
Every single element of the incredible track is sensational and delivered with all the masterful command one would expect from a four decade partnership and twenty album catalogue, but with such a delightful twist. A blending of genres and development of the Overkill staple sound that is made manifest in a kaleidoscope of absolute metal appeal. Goin Home takes that appeal to the next level before the placement of first single The Surgeon in the sequence reveals the true magic of this incredible album. A beacon of delight to the Overkill faithful and a killer track in its own right but the song takes on an entirely new ‘personality’ when slicing its way in sequence through this this killer collection. I remarked in a recent interview to Bobby that the constant success and righteous reign of Overkill as kings of thrash is testament to his masterful approach to both music and the inherent nature of the business, but with a riff ridden Overkill archetypal track The Surgeon being released as the assurance to the faithful that Overkill are as, if not more, brilliant than ever was a stroke of genius. I still think I understated the appeal of the song.
But the same can be said of Wicked Place as the second single released from the album. Magnificent in its own right, complete with huge groove and the tow and raw, massive musical appeal establishing that Overkill is not only creating killer signature offerings, but also exploring and adventuring with diversity and sound development. This track is brilliantly placed following the malevolent magic or Twist of the Wick it again takes on new appeal in album sequence.
Then Won’t Be Coming Back takes you in a completely new direction but firmly within the ‘feel’ of this epic metal journey, before Fever takes you gently into the realm’s melodic harmony…right up until the one minute mark when Overkill demonstrate that there will be a ebb and flow to this track. Just when you think you are comfortable the song morphs into something different again. What a groove.
Harder They Fall presents exactly as the writhing and thrashing offering you would expect from Bobby and the gang with a track of that title. Relentless and unforgiving. Expect MNS (mosh neck syndrome) from this beauty.
Know Her Name is another reminder of the vast experience and mastery of Overkill staples Bobby Blitz and DD Verni, illustrating their tremendous success in molding every band member to their characteristic sound whilst investing in the skill of each craftsman as contributing to the development of the groups never ending and tremendous appeal.
It’s about now that you consider that with Colin Richardson mixing Scorched, just as he did for From the Underground and Below, Necroshine, Bloodletting and Killbox 13 there was a special significance to the bond reignited between Colin and Overkill.
Bag O Bones completes the collection to perfection and has one reflecting that with all the bad times that came from COVID lockdowns, the sound of Overkill was certainly not a casualty. With time to create and recreate, perfect, and sculpt their twentieth offering, Scorched launches triumphantly from the ashes of pandemic destruction and soars gloriously and a true masterpiece, well worth the wait.
All considered and in reflection of Overkill being the true masters of thrash, this album carries all the hallmarks of what fans of the band hold near and dear, but with so much more that is undeniably magnificent and will appeal to a wider audience than ever before.
The Overkill journey from 1980 – 2023 had culminated into the creation of a true metal masterwork as their 20th offering and a collection that should be represented in every music collection in the world. Let the glorious riffage and thrashing brilliance of Overkill spread like wildfire and scorch all in its path.
As a parting note on cover art, it must be said that Travis Smith has done this album absolute justice and hit it out of the park yet again.
Bravura all contributors. Scorched is a monumental triumph and a thoroughly rewarding experience in every conceivable way. Ever home should have one as testament that not even COVID could stop the mighty Overkill.