You can confidently label the OVERKILL debut „Feel The Fire“ a real classic of the US Metal/Thrash Metal era. Unlike today, when you can rather count the band among Thrash Metal, the band still mixed a thorough portion of US Power Metal into their music in 1985. Back then OVERKILL were comprised of Bobby Gustafson (guitars), Rat Skates (drums) and Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth (vocals) and D.D. Verni (bass) who are still active today.
Those who listen to the disc for the first time will certainly be surprised by Bobby’s vocals, because in 1985 Blitz still sounded like a mixture between an angry Bruce Dickinson and Tom Araya in times of “Show No Mercy”. The band’s overall sound was much rawer and wilder than nowadays, too. But it’s just this wildness the band works with that makes “Feel The Fire” into a real classic. On this album there are immortal OVERKILL songs such as “Rotten To The Core”, “Raise The Dead”, “Hammerhead”, “Overkill” or the title track. These songs are wild and hard, but yet catchy. Which self-evidently also goes for the remaining songs, among which there is no blackout. As for the riffing, Bobby Gustafson alone couldn’t compete with comparable heroes like Jeff Hanneman and Kerry King or James Hetfield and Kirk Hammet, but when this man gets ready for a solo, the colleagues get really pale, I think.
Of course, the prominent bass, which plays a similarly imprtant role with OVERKILL as with IRON MAIDEN, can also be found on “Feel The Fire” already. Furthermore D.D. Verni and his playing make for a big part of the OVERKILL sound and basically replace the second guitar. The only thing I find somewhat weak is the drumming by Mister Skates, who often only hints at the double bass and sounds a bit bumpy here and there. But these are only trifles which can’t really harm this classic.
To me „Feel The Fire“ ranks equally high as other strong debut classics like “Show No Mercy” by SLAYER or “Kill ‘Em All” by METALLICA, for example. A shame OVERKILL haven’t become as successful as the two big brothers, too. But then the band has stayed true to this day to themselves and their fans and that’s something, too. Those who are into the good old Thrash Metal from the eighties must definitely own this album.
Check out tips: “Rotten To The Core”, “There’s No Tommorow”, “Overkill”, “Feel The Fire”.... (Online February 2, 2005)