Redemption. After the last few albums from the normally very strong and consistent OVERKILL, I was wondering if there was a light at the end of the tunnel. “From The Underground And Below” wasn’t necessarily bad but it wasn’t good either and the band seemed to know the end of the line was coming unless they had redemption. And that redemption came in the form of “Necroshine”.
Returning to their more energetic and hard hitting roots, “Necroshine” is the crossover line from their earlier work and their mid-era Groove influences. It still has structures and focus of the Groove that the band had been toying with for some time now, but they have added that Thrash Metal energy which had been lacking. The final result being a strange mixture of old and new that incorporates the best of both worlds into a fun audio romp.
Fans of the older OVERKILL are still going to get their share. Bobby Blitz shrieks and spurts out his unique and massive vocal chords while the song writing has become stronger than the last 4 albums combined. I like to think that finally finding a somewhat stable line-up has done wonders. It seems as though the two guitarists (Joe Comeau and Sebastian Marino) are becoming more comfortable with one another and the chemistry on this album shows that. Whether it’s the massive riffs and groove of “80 Cycles” or the Thrashier “I Am Fear” the guitars are working together in ways they haven’t done yet. Throw the bad ass bass work of co-founder DD Verni and it’s just a three guitar riff fest that never stops.
Occasionally, the blues influence from this era does appear in the music. Bobby Blitz uses the blue notes in his voice regularly and there is even a section towards the end of “Black Line” after the killer solo where the band breaks out into a bass riff with whistling over top of it to the vocal melody. Some of these blues elements shocked me at first but it gives the song (and entire album) a character yet seen in the band.
At the time of this album, it’s hard to believe that Thrash could ever come back. But with the progress that bands like OVERKILL show with stellar albums like “Necroshine” it’s wonderful to know that the spirit of Thrash is alive and well whether or not the music follows the formula for the genre. This is not pure Thrash by any means but it’s the best that OVERKILL has accomplished in a long time. At the point of writing this review, I have found myself still listening to this album over and over which means that it has also achieved universality in the music. That says something in itself.
This is OVERKILL at their best in the mid-era. It’s a must have for fans and it’s also a great and catchy way to introduce oneself to the band’s material. This is redemption for a band that was slowly sinking. It’s redemption like this that makes it worth sticking out the hard times.
Songs to check out: “Black Line”, “Necroshine”, “My December”.
(Online December 9, 2008)