Overkill - White Devil Armory - (9.5/10)
Published on July 22, 2014
Armed and ready for Overkill.
While the mighty Big 4 in the US have waned in their output in the last decade, bands like Testament, Death Angel, and Overkill have been putting out some of the best records of their careers. In particular, Overkill has been slaughtering it. The last two records were simply beasts of modern thrash execution in my opinion. Needless to say, my expectations for their eighteenth (!) album were damn high. Overkill, like their namesake would imply, are not stepping down with their latest White Devil Armory. While it’s a different kind of album than the last two overall, the quality is just as impressive overall leading this record to continue their slaying streak.
Both Ironbound and The Electric Age were dense thrash records, but White Devil Armory throws in some stronger diversity into the melting pot. Overkill pushes this album toward a more groove n’ pound foundation, similar to the style they played with in the late 90s and early 00s. In fact, the comparisons my fellow writers made to Killbox 13 are damn near spot on. Tracks like “King of the Rat Bastards” or “Pig” could have easily come right out of the writing and recording session of that massively underrated record with the band’s big catchy vocal lines and tight rhythm work between the guitars, bass, and drums.
This allows Overkill to really play more with tempos and space then we’ve heard on the previous two records. White Devil Armory kicks off with a pretty pummeling thrasher in “Armorist” (which acts as a sort of mindset transition for listeners from what the band was doing to what they are going to be doing here) and then the band dives right into their lockstep groove with “Down to the Bone” complete with chunk riffing and plenty of group shouts to offset the shrill wail of Bobby Blitz. The brilliance behind White Devil Armory lies in the fact that there is no filler to be found here. I’m on my fifteenth spin of the album as I write this review and I still feel no need to skip a single track. By the time I hit the more progressive writing in the finale “In the Name,” I make sure to click the repeat button on my computer so that it doesn’t stop.
While the groove injection might throw off a few of the older Overkill fans, the execution on White Devil Armory showcases the brilliance that DD Verni, Bobby Blitz, and company can truly bring to the scene. The band is three decades into their career, eighteen albums, and they still release music that highlights the best that thrash can deliver. White Devil Armory is catchy, thrashy, and ultimately the album to beat in 2014.
Overkill might have released an album called The Years of Decay, but they are far from showing it with their music.