"W.F.O" (Wide.Fucking.Open) has been released by OVERKILL in 1994. With this album the Thrash Metal-band found the path to a wider audience. Their previous albums all had been good, but up to this album the band had remained only an insider-tip.
OVERKILL often had had line-up-problems in the past, but for the first time this album showed a solid line.up with: Bobby "Blitz" Elsworth (vocals), DD Verni (bass and background vocals), Rob Carnivavio (rhythm & acoustic Guitar, background vocals), Merritt Gant (guitars) and Tim Mallare (drums).
The record starts out with the speedy and slightly Punk-ish thrashster "Where It Hurts". The song-title is program, the music goes straight for your throat, in a very accessible way. The song just sticks to your memory and is ideal for headbanging. After that we have the even faster (again the title says it all) "Fast Junkie" and the mid-tempo-stomper "The Wait - New High In Lows". Both tracks are great and excel in their precise and very riffy guitar-work. With "They Eat Their Young" the first hit comes out of the speakers. A very varied piece, with an accessible part, which just invites to sing along with. Really good and full of emotions. "What's Your Problem" starts with a grooving bass, drums and guitar-intro and proceeds into a very break-ridden, stomping song. The song also is brilliant and for me another absolute highlight of the album.
The following "Under One" we get a faster, but not really spectacular song, which could also have stood on any of the newer OVERKILL-albums. In the last third of the album some faster songs are cleaning your ears, like "Supersonic Hate", "Up To Zero" (both very good), the acoustic instrumental "R.I.P. Undone" and the two mid-tempo-tracks "Bastard Nation" and "Gasoline Dreams" (also with a faster middle-part). Of these five words especially "Bastard Nation" is standing out. With this track OVERKILL have created a band-hymn, the song is easy to sing along with and already is sung by the whole band on CD. I guess you can imagine how it will be live.v The overall impression is that it showcases a balanced mixture from old and new Thrash Metal, plus a few punky and break-ridden parts. The production is good, but the bass has been mixed very far to the fore. You can always hear it, which is not always the case in Metal. But I guess that this is something that might put a few people off, but that's a matter of taste. Just like the croaky, but always powerful voice of singer "Blitz".
The album, like already mentioned, had been a big leap for the band, OVERKILL were able to really establish themselves. The music always keeps up the tension and is accessible. You'll get really heavy Thrash with much diversity, additionally the album contains just many band-hits.
Check-out-tips: "They Eat Their Young", "Bastard Nation".