OVERKILL has done it again. Despite the lackluster effort of "ReliXIV", OVERKILL comes flying back into the scene with a killer album, "Immortalis". Everywhere that OVERKILL missed the target with "ReliXIV" has been corrected and improved upon. OVERKILL has always been a stable in my collection and "Immortalis" is a beautiful addition to my play list.
As soon as one puts in "Immortalis", they are going to notice that, no...OVERKILL has not returned to their Speed Metal days. They continue their groove influenced Thrash metal style that they have been perfecting since "Necroshine". This album does have some awesome and Thrashy guitar parts intermixed with the heavy groove and the guitarists trade off rhythms and leads expertly as they dodge between the slower and faster sections.
Once again there seems to be a heavy Blues influence on "Immortalis". There is plenty of slower moments intermixed with the Thrashier moments and songs will change direction two or three times during the duration of the song (bringing to mind some older BLACK SABBATH influence that may account for both of these characteristics). This time though, OVERKILL blends the Blues into their music a little smoother than on some of the other albums that have tried this tactic. DD Verni (Bass player) and Bobby Blitz (vocals) are on the top of their writing game.
Musically, as mentioned before, "Immortalis" pushes the boundaries of OVERKILL as the band twists and turns the songs from one direction to the next. DD Verni's bass seems to be less of a prominent force (at least aesthetically) whereas Blitz is full on power throughout. He sings, screams, and nails those high shrieks as well as he did 15 years ago.
A notable moment on the album includes a strange, yet very enjoyable, duet with Randy Blythe (vocalist of LAMB OF GOD) on the song "Skull And Bones". The song is one of the best on the album and who knew that Randy's harsh growls would mirror Blitz's singing and higher vocals so well. When they both scream together right before the solo it feels as though your eardrums just might tear.
As an OVERKILL fan, it was also wonderful to see the inclusion of an 'Overkill' track on the album. "Overkill V" is definitely a throwback to the days of old OVERKILL and many older fans are going to play it over and over again. I know I have. OVERKILL is back to full speed despite the road bump that was their previous album. "Immortalis" has OVERKILL looking better than in fine shape as they hit their fans with a left-right combo that will put Metal on its ass.
Songs to check out: "Devils In The Mist", "Skull And Bones", "Overkill V".
(Online November 15, 2007)