OVERKILL – “Scorched”

By Colonel Angus

This year is gearing up to be a great year for metal fans and more specifically, thrash fans.  There was release by another thrash metal giant a few weeks ago (I wonder who?--Dr. M) but quite honestly, I was more excited about this new record from OVERKILL.  It is hard to believe that this is their twentieth studio record and by the sound of the tunes, they are not slowing down anytime soon.  I also looked through their catalogue and OVERKILL has been consistent throughout their entire career.  Sure, there are albums that are better than others but they haven’t released a bad album.  Luckily, the down-time due to Covid has given the band some time to really hone their craft and put forth a record that is easily one of their best.  “Scorched” is just over fifty minutes long spanning ten stand out tracks which makes it the perfect length as far as I’m concerned; more is not always better. 

Things start off with a very JUDAS PRIEST sounding guitar intro but quickly turns into a great thrash infused metal title track.  Right off the bat, the band sounds reinvigorated and play it like they mean it with that same enthusiasm carrying throughout the entire disk.  Following in similar footsteps to the opener, “Goin’ Home” starts off a little slower but turns into another thrash classic.  “The Surgeon” and “Twist of the Wick” barely give the listener a chance to catch their breath before they pound them into submission with thrash metal nirvana. Drummer Jason Bittner shines throughout but his precision during the thrashier elements elevated the material.  Next up we are presented “Wicked Place” that has a great evil swagger that shows that OVERKILL is not a one trick pony.  There is an ominous feel to this track that is helped along by that evil riff that not only materialized throughout the track but also continues through the end.  

As we more along, “Won’t Be Comin’ Back” has a great heavy metal vibe and again has a great JUDAS PRIEST influence but with a more updated aggressive bend.  Things slow down a little bit with “Fever” but it’s still heavy as all hell.  Blitz sings in a vocal style that I haven’t heard him use often and it really shows a different range to his performance.  Along with the different vocal, they dig into a very BLACK SABBATH sounding riff that shows they are not afraid to incorporate their influences while still creating their own sound.  “Harder They Fall” returns to the thrash style that they have mastered so perfectly.  Blitz once again shows us why is one of the best thrash vocalists out there.  The last two track “Know Her Name” and “Bag o’ Bones” are a mix of thrash metal for the former and groove metal for the latter.  “Know Her Name” has a great middle section that reminds me of the beginning of “Peace Sells” by MEGADETH and “Bag o’ Bones” has an infectious groove that ends the album in fine form.

The band is the same as the one that recorded “The Wings of War” back in 2019.  Aside from newest member and drummer Bittner, the rest of this line-up has been touring and releasing music for over two decades with Blitz and D D Verni starting it all way back in the early 80s.  Needless to say, OVERKILL is a well-oiled machine at this stage but that certainly doesn’t mean stale.  “Scorched” proves that even though OVERKILL may be part of the “old guard” of thrash, they still have a lot to show these newer bands.  2023 is not even half over yet but I can’t imagine anything knocking “Scorched” off the top spot for thrash metal releases of the year.