It’s safe to assume it’s hard for any musician or band to keep their material fresh by their 20th album, but Overkill are the prideful exception with Scorched. These 10 heaters from the legendary thrashers see them venturing into unexplored dimensions, all while maintaining their hallmark unruly attitude. There seems to have been melodic and bluesy sides to these New Jersey bruisers waiting for this moment to reveal themselves.
The title track kicks off the album gloriously with guitars tapping a rousing melody. After the invigorating tone is set, the band lashes into its thrash pageantry, siccing Bobby Blitz’s distinguishable assertive vocals. Hearty slams follow each catchy chorus, and an untamed guitar lead spazzes over a chunky bass rhythm by the revered DD Verni.
“The Surgeon” is perhaps the most Overkill-esque song on the record. The verses are chock full of lyrics about killing and the music is ripe for fierce hair-whipping action. A menacing breakdown awaits in the bridge and is introduced in trademark fashion with guitars providing the opening salvo while tom drums pound the accents. The band’s classic aggression permeates throughout this banger.
Another hard-hitter that will satisfy the purist fan is “Twist of the Wick.” With speedy tremolo and triplet riffs being delivered in razor-sharp fashion, along with falsetto vocals, this song crushes with old-school vigor. Its bridge generates stark imagery, featuring an evil groove accompanied by a chanting chorus and church bells. In keeping with the theatrics, “Won’t Be Coming Back” effectively carries a New Wave British Heavy Metal vibe with its cadence and dramatic choruses. Though uncharacteristic of the band’s style, this marcher is solidly executed.
“Fever” sticks out in a positive way as well with its down-tuned guitars, divulging yet another alluring surprise on Scorched. An ominous but tranquil clean riff spearheads the verses as Blitz softens his growl and sounds reminiscent of Ozzy. Further shaking things up is the album’s closer, “Bag O’ Bones.” Its chopping grooves and bouncy vocal patterns make for a ditty that can be straight-up danced to. “Shake that bag o’ bones” is the provocative lyric that caps off each chorus, but the outro really gets the booties moving, especially with Blitz repeating “shake it.”
The fact that Overkill took their time writing and recording this release is not lost on the finished product, which was mixed by Colin Richardson and Chris Clancy. Maor Appelbaum handled mastering duties, rounding out the collective vision of “80’s throwback mix with a modern punch.” The songs are carefully crafted and full of character. There’s nary a dull moment or filler present. Scorched releases on April 14 via Nuclear Blast Records.
Buy the album here.
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