posted on 10/2007 By:
If anyone deserves to benefit from the current resurgence (read: commercial viability) of thrash, it’s a band like Overkill. These originators have been hard at it for two decades; not collapsing under egos and superstar expectations, not breaking up and reuniting to play whole albums, not continually boasting that their next album will be a “return to their roots”, not carrying on with noisy pronouncements that “thrash is back!”. For Overkill, along with a handful of others, it never went away. These guys have been doing their thing their way, dealing out a consistent offering of mostly trend-resistant albums. Sure, a little slower here, some groove there, but the overall formula has changed very little. All that considered, I’d love nothing more to report that Immortalis is the kind of steamrolling, throat ripping thrash beast that will divert some attention from the new kids everyone keeps talking about. The reality is that the latest in a steady stream of Overkill albums is a solid effort that will easily satisfy their fanbase, but is unlikely to attract hordes of new fans.
It’s a universal truth that long-running bands won’t match the high water marks of the fire-in-the-belly early golden years, and also that many will always bemoan that reality. But Overkill continues to live up to their reputation of delivering serviceable, burly midtempo thrash efforts that are usually good for a couple of highlights, one or two just misses, and a bunch of quality, workman like thrash numbers. Immortalis bursts out of the gate on a highpoint with the venomous, skull-cracking uptempo “Devils in the Mist”. They keep up the pace on “What it Takes” and “Skull and Bones,” which features some guest vocals from Lamb of God’s Randy Blythe. The LOG jammer’s familiar gruff delivery shows both how well contemporary vocals mesh with the band’s classic style, and underscore the worth of the unique style of Blitz. I could do without the section where the two trade lines, but other than that the partnership works well.
Immortalis slows a bit with a few unremarkable but unoffensive tracks (“Shadow of a Doubt,” “Hellish Pride,” and “Walk Through Fire”), before again upping the intensity with the pit-ready riffs of tracks like “Charlie Get Your Gun” and “Hell Is.” Snarling midtempo stomper “Head On” begins with an instrumental bait and switch with D.D. Verni leading off with a slow bass melody that sounds a bit like the slow part of "Rime of the Ancient Mariner". Finally, closer “Overkill V” may not be as strong as some previous entries in the series, but stands rock solid on its own two feet. The instrumentation here is solid front to back and the production is suitably stout without becoming sterile. Immortalis is an album for Overkill fans, and it will be warmly received as such. It’s a sound but not a must-buy for others, but if you’ve been greedily consuming thrash albums from the new crop of bands, and you don’t have a liberal handful of Overkill albums in your collection, you need to rectify your blatant oversight, or admit that you’re a garden variety trend hopper.
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