Thursday, January 12, 2012
Overkill has always exuded the “take no prisoners” perspective in their music with back-breaking thrash and excellent vocals brought to you by Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth. It should be no surprise then when doing covers of some their favorite songs; they bring in the Overkill juice to spice up tracks some hold near and dear to them.
They perfectly capture the energy of the KISS track “Deuce” by letting the riff do the talking, but they sped up the tempo for a more thrash spirit. Blitz spits out the fury that Gene Simmons brought to one of KISS’s staples songs. I’m sure the Demon would be pleased with the quality put forth by the ‘Kill.
The same approach is done with “Space Truckin’.” The distorted guitars rattle off a thrashed up version of the Deep Purple classic. The drums were simplified because stick man Ian Paice is hard to match, but Tim Mallare lays a solid effort and makes it more in the Overkill style. It is also amusing hearing Blitz’s aggressive vocals go on about the wonders of space travel.
There is a host of Black Sabbath covers as they were an essential influence to Overkill, but then again, Black Sabbath is just about inspirational to every metal band. The best one is the amped up version of “Never Say Die” and guitarist Dave Linsk delivers the perfect solo as found in the original and a new energy is brought with a heavier mark on the guitars and drums. By far the most interesting and different is the cover of “Changes.” The ballad does not have quite have the somber tone, but Blitz’s clean vocals are striking and one of the best vocal performances he has registered. The last and least impressive is “Cornucopia” as the beauty of Tony Iommi’s guitar magic is blown up on this one as this Sabbath tune does not fit the Overkill style.
The cover that left the biggest impression was the Judas Priest cover of “Tyrant.” It sounds like a brand new song as Blitz delivers a gritty, aggressive vocal that accompanies bombast of instrumentation from the rest of the band. The only negative is that the production is muddled. However, the song is presented as if Overkill wrote it. If one wants the clean and high registers of Rob Halford, then opt for the Priest, but if one is in the mood for a raw energy and aggression, then go for the ‘Kill.
Overkill has also been influenced by a number of punk bands and those inspirations are brought to life with covers of some of those bands. I have a never been fan of The Ramones, Sex Pistols, or The Dead Boys, but I realize their importance and can appreciate what they have done. With that said, the attitude in the vocals and making tracks like “No Feelings”, “I’m Against it”, and “Ain’t Nothin’ to Do” thrash tracks are a fun listen. These songs show why they were huge for a developing band and how Overkill’s brand of thrash was influenced by them.
This is one of the better cover albums anyone is going to cross. Instead of doing faithful reinterpretations of classic songs; Overkill decided to do the songs as if they wrote them. The approach is rather successful and if do not sound as good; the effort can surely be appreciated. The vocal performance by Blitz is worth the listen alone. Be sure to check out “Deuce”, “Space Truckin’”, and “Tyrant” for solid doses and go on to “Changes” and “Never Say Die” if you crave for more. After giving this a listen, it is now known that Overkill definitely has all their bases…”covered.”