Friday, August 1, 2014

Review of Overkill's White Devil Armory

Overkill may have settled into a certain niche in recent years but you sure as hell can't call them lazy. 2010's Ironbound was a revitalizing kick in the pants and 2012's The Electric Age successfully kept the momentum going, even if the band has since referred to the latter as being a stylistically limited release. Now with the fascinatingly titled White Devil Armory, Overkill has promised a more dynamic album that still stays true to their lifelong signature sound.

On its most basic points, you won't find too many things on here that weren't already done on the two albums before it. None of the songs stray too far from the standard fast-paced guitar runs, D.D. Verni's bass and backing chants still complement Ron Lipsicki's constant blasts, Blitz's relentless rasp gives songs like "Armorist" and "Pig" their fire, and the sound is wrapped up with the same crispy, trebly production job. Part of me is starting to miss the bottom heavy Immortalis tone but the sound still matches the writing and performances nicely.

While the songs on here do secure themselves in the thrash metal realm, the band has made due on their promise of a more varied release than its predecessor. You won't find a complete out-of-speed experience like "Black Daze" on here but each track does have a certain quirk or tempo change that keeps things from sounding the same. It is most apparent in the second half thanks to the vocal effects on "Another Day To Die" and the epic flair of "Freedom Rings" and "In The Name," though the Necroshine-esque shifts on "Bitter Pill" make it the biggest deviation and strongest highlight.

But with the shifts comes the feeling that they still could've done a little more with them. The writing has a lot of effort put it but it is a little hard to find a "Bring Me The Night" or "The Head And Heart" on here. The bonus cover of Nazareth's "Miss Misery" with Accept's Mark Tornillo does raise a few questions; it's a cool idea but I can't help but wonder if they considered having him on one of the album's main tracks. Perhaps the reaction to their Randy Blythe collaboration scared them off...

Overkill's seventeenth full-length fits right in with the other pieces of the "Ironbound Trilogy" and may be about even with its predecessor in terms of quality. It took a few extra listens to get into than usual and still leaves one wanting more, but it's hard to imagine things any other way. Definitely a solid recommendation and a well deserved entry into the Billboard's Top 40.

"Bitter Pill"
"Freedom Rings"
"In The Name"

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