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Album Review: Overkill - Scorched
Overkill’s 20th studio album ‘Scorched‘ will be released via Nuclear Blast Records on the 14th April 2023. Preorder it here.
With stiff competition in the world of heavy metal with instant access to thousands of albums on streaming services and social media, it’s a battleground out there to get recognition and it’s easy for bands old and new to fall by the wayside. But the same can’t be said for Thrash Metal legends Overkill. With a career fast approaching their 4th decade and a solid discography of 20 studio albums under their leather belts, the titans are back with their 20th studio album ‘Scorched;’ an impressive feat in itself.
Vocalist Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth says of the album: “It’s not aggression for the sake of
aggression. There are a lot of different elements on the record. To me, it’s more heavy metal, and less of an outright thrash record. There’s a hell of a lot of melody on it.”
Having begun the process of writing the new album at the height of the global pandemic in 2020, the band found themselves in a position where the pressure to write, record and master was well and truly off; time and care was taken to produce a piece of art honed by decades of experience and unbridled passion. Two and a half years later, the band’s twentieth studio album ‘Scorched‘ was born.
Blitz also goes on to say of the writing process: “My first stab at these lyrics was excited and amped up. The second phase was a bit more depressing; darker. It was a whirlwind. The world said: ‘enough of this bullshit,’ put their foot down, and came out of it. Our record shows that. It’s spinning something that was darker into something brighter.”
The title track opens the record with a tolling bell, an endless riff and thunderous drums. A pumped up atmospheric escalation before Blitz‘ rasping vocals pierce the air. It charges at a ferocious, headbanging pace with soaring solos and melodies. Next up is ‘Goin’ Home,’ an ominous, mid-tempo stomp before picking up the pace with chant-worthy moments and stadium-level atmosphere; not forgetting the riffs and solos flying out at every direction. ‘The Surgeon‘ blasts you with chunky basslines and rapid-fire vocals that appear to be in a race against time with the unrelenting riffage. This track commands the listener’s attention.
‘Twist of the Wick‘ is certainly a stand-out track on the record. Sinister in nature which would not be out of place on a Slayer album. A classic thrash track for sure however it catches you off guard towards the latter third where it slows right down to incorporate ominous chanting supported by chugging, evil riffage. ‘Wicked Place‘ is a groove-infused riff-fest of epic proportions focusing on addictive melodies and flying solos. It closes with a brief but impactfully somber orchestral element. ‘Won’t Be Comin’ Back‘ follows the same mid-tempo groove stomp with chant-worthy choruses whereas ‘Fever‘ pays homeage to a doomier ‘Black Sabbath’ style with darker elements and slower time signatures before launching in to a blues/groove style. Blitz‘ vocals are considerably more melodic and clear throughout compared to the raspy consistency heard in the record so far. The drums from ex-Shadows Fall drummer Jason Bittner are a stand-out moment in this track showing the diverse skill between relentless thrashy epicness and rhythmical blues-style thunder.
As the record descends in to its final three tracks, the pace is quickened again with ‘Harder They Fall,’ destined to be a rousing crowd-pleaser with unrelenting riffs, thunderous drums and chant-worthy moments. The penultimate track ‘Know Her Name‘ is catchy, fun and bouncy with funky basslines and more soaring solos. ‘Bag o’ Bones‘ serves as a closer of epic proportions. Just as energetically ferocious as it is fun, capitalising on funky rhythm and blistering guitarwork.
If you’re looking for a thrash album that grabs your attention and keeps you hooked from beginning to end, look no further than Overkill’s ‘Scorched.’ An absolute riff-fest, solo packed, rhythmical yet thunderous work of art. Even 20 years on, this band knows how to remain consistent with their quality of metal without becoming stagnant. This record is absolute fire and a real contender for Album of the Year.
Released By: Nuclear Blast
Release Date: 14th April 2023
FFO: Judas Priest, Exodus, Iron Maiden
1) Scorched (06:13)
2) Goin’ Home (04:31)
3) The Surgeon (05:33)
4) Twist of the Wick (05:34)
5) Wicked Place (05:00)
6) Won’t be Comin Back (04:30)
7) Fever (05:33)
8) Harder They Fall (04:23)
9) Know Her Name (05:11)
10) Bag o’ Bones (04:37)
TOTAL RUNTIME: 51:05 MIN