Monday 28 May 2018

ALBUM REVIEW: Overkill, “Live in Overhausen”

By: Richard Maw

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 18/05/2018
Label: Nuclear Blast

Overkill are now fully established as the Motorhead of thrash:  a lean mean killing machine that defies age and just keeps on delivering the goods while upping the ante each time.

Live in Overhausen2CD//DVD//DD//2LP track listing:

1. Coma
2. Infectious  
3. Blood Money
4. Thanx For Nothin'
5. Bare Bones
6. Horrorscope
7. New Machine
8. Frankenstein
9. Live Young Die Free
10. Nice Day - for a Funeral
11. Soulitude
12. Raise The Dead
13. Rotten To The Core
14. There's No Tomorrow
15. Second Son
16. Hammerhead
17. Feel The Fire
18. Blood and Iron
19. Kill at Command
20. Overkill
21. Fuck You

The Review:

Overkill return with a double live album after last year's excellent studio effort, “The Grinding Wheel”. Instead of a career spanning greatest hits set, or even a compendium of track's from their last four stellar albums the band have gone for something a little different. Indeed, New Jersey’s finest have opted to re-visit their “Horrorscope” and “Feel The Fire” albums. In full. In track list order. Oddly, the set starts with the chronologically later album, “Horrorscope”.

So, you get 21 tracks over either two CDs (plus DVD or Blu Ray) OR you can fork out for two double LP sets; one for each album. I have opted for the CD and DVD this time around as I simply can't justify buying that and two double LP sets- that really is a big ask, even for a dedicated fan.

This review only focuses on the audio part of the release: it is superb. In fact, this is easily the best Overkill live album. “Wrecking Your Neck” suffered a little from a flat sound, whilst “Wrecking Everything” was an improvement, it still did not capture the full intensity of the band. This time around the band has nailed it. This is one intense performance with the band firing on all cylinders and ably assisted by guest drummer Eddie Garcia of Pissing Razors.

I saw one of the shows on this tour and the band were on fine form, and clearly building up to this performance in Germany. The sound is excellent; full and clear with 1500 German maniacs ably assisting the band by rowdily cheering along and chanting the band's name between songs. The material form “Horrorscope” sounds fantastic with the beefed up modern production and the songs shine. The band retained their punk-ish edge even through the more complex and dark material on offer here and it is still regarded as one of their best, over a quarter of a century later.

The real draw for me, though, is the performance of the “Feel The Fire” album. It stands shoulder to shoulder with “Kill Em All”, “Shown No Mercy”, “Fistful of Metal”, “Bonded By Blood”, “The Legacy” and “Killing is My Business...” for me- and I prefer it to nearly all the records on that list! Overkill's debut was and is a thing of marauding beauty- matching Maiden-esque guitar runs with thrash speed and punk like aggression. To hear the band sounding so vital and revved up on this thirty-something year old material is a treat. “Rotten To The Core” is superb, the extended middle section of the title track (Higher... Higher... Feel The Fire!!!) is as dramatic as it is spine tingling. Metal perfection! The run of great tracks on the album is astonishing; “Hammerhead”, “Blood and Iron”, “Kill at Command...” thrash metal does not get any better.

The CD/DVD is actually pretty good value- you get two full albums live and a DVD for your money: not bad! As stated before, forking out for both vinyl sets is pretty steep, but if you love one album and are not too bothered about the other, you can choose. I'll pick up the “Feel The Fire” set when I have the cash. Ah, who am I kidding, I'll get the “Horrorscope” one as well!

Overkill are now fully established as the Motorhead of thrash:  a lean mean killing machine that defies age and just keeps on delivering the goods while upping the ante each time. Compare their recent output to any of the other big thrash names. Overkill are streets ahead in intensity, hunger, material and work ethic. This expansive live release may well test your wallet, but the band passes the thrash exam with flying colours.

Live in Overhausen is available here

Band info: facebook