Spitfire Records
Release date: March 22, 2005

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

In a time where “new and improved” is the mantra of the nations, the possibilities of your favorite band becoming your least favorite band in the course of an album or two isn’t that uncommon. After the sweet taste of success, it becomes all too easy for some bands to reprioritize their goals and start chasing the next big thing instead of being true to their artistic integrity. How many times have you heard a band say “We are exploring our inner artistic freedoms?” How many times did that come out sounding like “We know this album sucks, but we just don’t know how else to compete for your all-mighty-dollars unless we try to sound like this?”

For twenty years now Overkill have been putting out the same style of music, using the same formula for all those years; crush, obliterate, and destroy! There is no false pretense and never has been, Overkill is a Thrash band from Jersey — ’nuff said. Except in this case, it isn’t enough.

Twenty years … that certainly is some sort of milestone. Especially for a band that has never really hit the mainstream at any point in their career. Year in and year out, this self-described wrecking crew have been relentlessly touring and recording to the degree that it literally almost killed lead vocalist Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth with a stroke. Now, with their latest studio release, ReliXIV, they offer up more of the same. Not to say that the music is stunted, dated, or predictable, but it is unmistakably Overkill.

The two elements that make up their unmistakable sound are Blitz’s vocals and the low, metallic rumblings of original bassist D.D. Verni. It seems as long as these two guys are present, it doesn’t matter who else is in the band; the sound is completely Overkill. This outing sees Dave Linsk and Derek Tailer handling guitars again, and long-time drummer Tim Mallare seated on the throne. Tim’s insane double beats really accent the hard thump of this CD, and make everything sound so tight; you just know they are going to bring the house down when they hit the stage live with this stuff.

Some of the stronger numbers are “Within Your Eyes,” “Loaded Rack,” Bats in the Belfry,” and the sing-along anthem “Old School.” Not to discredit the other six numbers on this disk — at no point do you ever slow down and catch your breath. It is an all-out Mosh-bonanza from start to finish. The vibe is heavy and energized. At some point you would swear you were right back in 1985 with Feel the Fire and then the next minute it is cutting edge Killbox 13. ReliXIV is almost a retrospective disk in a completely new package … a definitive piece if ever there was one.


  • Jeremy Juliano

    Jeremy was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio. He's been involved with and has been following the Metal scene since the early 1980’s. He started out his Metal journey with heavy doses of Maiden, Accept, and Saxon. And in recent years, he has enjoyed the new age of Metal with bands like Hammerfall, Edguy, and Nightwish, to name a few.

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