Despite an amazing debut album, OVERKILL had yet to hit full stride. As with many bands at the time, their influences had a significant shaping factor in their sound and their uniqueness as a band suffered from it. But worry not, the band learned quickly and on their sophomore effort, “Taking Over”, they craft an individual sound that is simply monstrous.
The line-up remains stable from the last record, with a four piece retaining its efficiency when it comes to the Thrash Metal sound. On “Taking Over” the band hones their sound into a Thrash attack that would make them one of the longest lasting and most lethal bands to grace the genre. Combining the melodic elements of Blitz’s vocal onslaught and some nicely placed lead guitar work with the energetic and sternum pounding force of the drum and bass section, “Taking Over” has the band at their most explosive yet.
Every member of the band just slays their part of this record. Blitz’s wailings and shrieks may not always be the most tasteful but it’s hard not to love his charm and unique approach to a rather stale style of vocal for Thrash at the time and his combination with the rest of the band is surgically precise. Bobby Gustafson (guitars) and D.D. Verni (bass) work beautifully together. Normally a Thrash band with only one guitarist tends to lack depth, but D.D. Verni is skilled enough on the bass that he acts like a rhythm guitar for a strong section on this album and this allows Gustafson to take flight and shred his way through the six strings when needed. Shred he does too. The speed and precision of his axe makes this album stronger, as his riffs and soloing are all memorable. He hardly ever plays a riff that won’t stick with you through the record and he doesn’t throw down a solo that disappoints.
Fans of Thrash are going to hear classic track after classic track after classic track. From “Deny The Cross” to the chant-tastic “Powersurge” to the epic sequel song “Overkill II (The Nightmare Continues)”, “Taking Over” is non-stop Thrash anthems. I honestly don’t think there is a single moment on this album that is filler. Not a single song, section, or note is out of place and lack luster. That is a feat and it is shone in its greatest on this album.
If you are a Thrash fan then this album is a MUST HAVE in your collection. It’s energetic, edgy, and brilliant in all aspects. “Taking Over” is nothing short of pure Metal in your veins. A must have.
Songs to check out: Every single one Thrashes.
(Online April 27, 2009)