Overkill, White Devil Armory
Overkill was the band that got me into thrash metal. I remember staying up til 2 AM watching metal videos on VH1 when their ‘In Union We Stand’ video suddenly came on. Instantly, I was in love with this band. I later saw the ‘Hello From The Gutter’ video and it reinforced my devotion to the band.
I want to point out that, IMO, I don’t care for the production values on modern albums. White Devil Armory, if only for Bobby Blitz, shines even with the modern production because of his non stop energy and attitude. He has not changed a bit over the years and lets be honest, he’s what makes Overkill. Though I would love for Bobby Gustafson to still be playing in the band, he has been absent since 1990…His work just holds up so well and his solos were just…amazing. I don’t feel I took much away from this album’s guitar solos. All the music is top notch and the talent is there, but nothing quite grabbed me. So here is my play by play on White Devil Armory.
The intro really sets the tone of the album. It reminds me of something that could be in the new Mad Max film. Vocals are top notch even though I’m not a big fan of the lyrics. I feel this song was written specifically to be a lyric video, which I can’t stand. It does have a classic Blitz scream, so it redeems itself slightly. The lyrical content improves on ‘Down to the Bone’. the band really pulls it together for me with this one.
‘Pig’ & ‘Bitter Pill’ were difficult for me to get into, but eventually grew on me. The solos on this album so far don’t really evoke any emotion in me. They feel a little cold and calculated, I never found myself lost in them. ‘Where There’s Smoke’ is exactly what I want to hear from Overkill…speed and attitude along with that old school feel! Bridge section is perfect, slows the pace a little but keeps a hard head-banging speed with some well-developed bass lines. The guitar solo blasts in after a classic Blitz scream. This is my favorite solo thus far. This song sounds like it pushed everyone to their limits and that’s why it comes off so strong. It ends so abruptly and perfectly.
‘Freedom Rings’ starts with an intro that keeps building into a fast thrashin’ pace. Vocals are spot on right off the bat, right where Bobby Blitz needs to be vocal wise. This is a good follow up to the last track. A very strong chorus. Probably the best on the whole album. Some really bad ass riffs in the song and nasty lyrics. ‘Another Day To Die’ is definitely more melodic than the previous songs and the lyrics are pretty dark. I found myself banging my head a lot because Blitz’ delivery was exceptional and features one of the best solos on the album. ‘King of the Rat Bastards’ starts with some riffage thats a bit different before kickin right into classic Overkill style. The lyrics in this one are typical fuck you right in your face with no apology before careening into a strong bridge that leads to the final chorus. ‘It’s All Yours’ is a very heavy song that picks up velocity as it progresses throughout the intro into the chorus. Has a clean sung bridge which was a cool change followed by a harsher bit before another guitar solo that just doesn’t do it for me. ‘In The Name’ would be my favorite tune on the album, mainly due to the great vocal display from Blitz who can still hit those notes he’s known for.
I admit to being more of a fan to early Overkill. That being said, I thought the album was not bad, but if you’ve really enjoyed their last few releases, I think this is a very strong release compared to those. If you love Overkill, you owe it to yourself to at least listen to this. Overkill has not missed a beat and continue to be just as nasty and bad ass as they’ve ever been. I enjoyed this album. Sure it’s not gonna jump in front of Feel the Fire for me, but it certainly isn’t the worst. Bobby Blitz is a god among thrash metal vocalists. This could be a pile of shit but with him singing on it I would still give it a listen just because he’s that good. If Blitz himself were to read this, he’d probably STILL say “We don’t care what you say, Fuck You!!!”…and that my friends, is very comforting!