Overkill – White Devil Armory


Review by Gary Cordwell

Nuclear Blast

Release date: 21 July 2014

Like a mean old junkyard dog that refuses to roll over and die, Overkill just keep on snarling. And just to be even more stubborn and ornery, they’re not just cruising on past achievements, they’re actually producing some of their best, most lethally efficient work. The purple patch that began in 2010 when they signed with Nuclear Blast and released Ironbound continues unabated with White Devil Armory.

Overkill are rapidly catching up with AC/DC and Motorhead in the bloody minded, ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ stakes. Not for them mid-clife crises and jazz funk dalliances, oh no! We have a brief, sinister instrumental intro – the kind of eerie monster movie music that plays just before we see the leviathan, and then – boom! The opening riff of ‘Armorist’ snatches you up in its slipstream and we’re off!

Original members Bobby ‘Blitz’ Ellsworth and bassist D.D. Verni marshall their troops ruthlessly and tear through this machine tooled and road hewn 11 song exercise in aural ultra-violence. The riffs just never stop coming, each one more anti-social than the last. Honestly, how many riffs can one band produce? There’s a careers worth on here!

Age (and illness) have not withered Ellsworth. Clearly cancer, strokes and pneumonia are just minor obstacles to be crushed in Overkills wake! Bands with 30 years at the coal face should not be making music this vital, but thank God they are. Blitz seemingly cackles for joy at the end of ‘Down To The Bone’ – these guys are having a ball.

It’s an album that doesn’t stay still, it has a restless, furious energy. There are hints of NWOBHM, hardcore punk, chugging groove metal and relentless tempo changes that keep you slightly disoriented and off guard – wide open for them to deliver their next knockout punch. In ‘It’s All Yours’ Blitz sings of a runaway freight train, and this is what this is. ‘Where Theres Smoke’ borrows Metallica’s ‘Fight Fire With Fire’ riff and ‘In The Name’ ends the album on a very metal, horns raised, sleeveless denim jacket and studded leather wristband high!

This album should have an advert for an ambulance chasing, shyster lawyer on the back – there will be whiplash claims! 17 albums in and this latest is a triumph. The second drawer of original thrash bands – Overkill, Exodus, Testament – are effortlessly overtaking the Big 4 in terms of consistently brilliant metal albums at the moment and ‘White Devil Armory’ is right up there with the best of them.

Overkill – White Devil Armory8 out of 10

Track listing:

  1. XDM
  2. Armorist
  3. Down To The Bone
  4. Pig
  5. Bitter Pill
  6. Where There’s Smoke
  7. Freedom Rings
  8. Another Day To Die
  9. King Of The Rat Bastards
  10. It’s All Yours
  11. In The Name