Classic Rock Bottom



Nuclear Blast Records - 2023

Thanks to a series of delays caused by the pandemic, it has been four long years since metal fans got to experience a new Overkill album. FOUR YEARS! That's the longest the band has ever gone between albums. But the layoff seems to have paid off because with their 20th studio album Scorched, Overkill proves once again just how much a musical force they are.

And the fun starts right from the very first note of the title track which opens up the album. The guitar line that kicks off the songs is actually quite killer! Each time I have played the album, that riff, with the bass (from D.D. Verni) and drums (from Jason Bittner at first running as an undercurrent, just grabs your attention and doesn't let go. And when the song kicks off in full, all of the music elements explode out of your speaker as a full-throttle blistering attack. Singer Bobby "Blitz" Ellsworth's vocals serve as the figurative string that ties the whole package together.

The song is such a strong way to kick things off that it can't possibly maintain that kind of strength throughout the album right? WRONG!

In fact, the Scorched album pretty much ricochets from one amped up number to the next with nary a rest for your ears (or assuming we are all still out there headbanging away, your sore necks) as Overkill hits you with wave after wave of metallic heaviness.

The song "The Surgeon" has an amped up pace with a surgical spitfire strike vocal performance and the rather stunning "Twist of the Wick" has an effectively brutal wrecking your neck quality. In fact, "Twist of the Wick" is indeed one of my personal favorite cuts on Scorched.

The album, which was produced by the band, has this immense sound quality so every song feels like it hits the peak of perfection, sonically speaking.

On the track "Wicked Place", there's kind of a bounce in the step in the music for the first half of the song while the second half of the song is more of a blazing assault, especially from the guitar tandem of Dave Linsk and Derek Tailer.

The opening of "Won't Be Coming Back" feels like it is a marching song and then morphs into a far more intense pace. I love the way the music sounds here but it should also be noted that the vocals from Ellsworth are pretty interesting too. The way he delivers the lyrics is fantastic, particularly the way he presents his vocals during the song's chorus.

Meanwhile, the track called "Fever" is probably the slowest starting number on the album. It's kind of spare at the opening with just a dash of music and the Ellsworth vocal track given more room to shine on its own. But after the first verse, the song amps up the aggression for the next verse. It continues to go back and forth with these two different styles throughout most of the song making for an interesting set of tempo switch ups.

The alternating deliveries of music is set aside for the song "Harder They Fall" though. The song is like the musical embodiment of whiplash, which considering just how many blitzkrieg songs Overkill has done over their career, is really saying something. Oddly enough, you could probably say pretty much the same thing for "Know Her Name" which once again hits the listener with a wave of metallic sound that will leave you pinned to the figurative wall.

Scorched closes out on a high note for me with the song "Bag O' Bones". While sacrificing none of their trademark thrash metal attack, Overkill gives this song a funky groove tone to the music as well. I have played this song repeatedly because it just catches your ear each time you hear it. I love the way the two disparate sounds blend together seamlessly to give you a musical high point to bring the album to a fully satisfying conclusion.

I found myself really enjoying this album and played it a number of times before writing this review. I can't say enough good things about the disc because for me Overkill has really hit a high point with Scorched, which is one of their finest releases to date!

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