Overkill: The Electric Age

This is the 16th studio album from New Jersey thrash band Overkill. I’ve always felt like Overkill were pretty underrated as a thrash band seeing as when most people think of thrash music – 9 times out of ten the first band you think of is Slayer. But Overkill were extremely pivotal in the development in thrash music as well as all the other mid-tier thrash bands like Testament, Exodus, Sodom, Kreator, and Death Angel (just to name a few). I would also consider The Years of Decay to be a staple in terms of thrash metal and needs to be acknowledged in any thrash metal anthology.

This album however is not really on par with The Years of Decay and you know what? That’s totally fine. I don’t think any of the thrash bands of the 80s will be able to recreate the albums that they did back then and I’m pretty sure all the fans can understand that too. The bands are still putting out great records and aren’t changing their sound which is good, so as long as we don’t have another Diabolus in Musica, then I think everybody will be happy.

The Electric Age is like a classic Overkill record though, second best to The Years of Decay. Hey, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it right? It’s extremely fast yet fairly long as far as thrash albums go, clocking in at 50 minutes with the shortest song at 3:44. Moat songs are within the 6 minute range, which is like a marathon in thrash metal standards. The album is simply relentless and the guitar work is like a feeding frenzy. The solos are so mind-numbing and at break-neck speeds.

Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth’s vocals are on top form and are arguably the best they’ve ever been. It’s hard to believe that the band have been around since the 80’s because they’ve really been able to really manipulate todays modern technologies with the core of 80s thrash metal. The whole album is a lot of old school combining with the new. It’s a phenomenal record overall and even the most casual of metal fans needs to listen to it. It’s difficult to say whether or not it tops Ironbound. Ironbound had a lot of new ideas for the band and some people really liked it and some people really hated. I think it’s fair to say though that no matter what you feel about Ironbound, The Electric Age is much better. I really want this record to be in my top 20 albums of the year because Overkill are such a fantastic band and really deserve your respect, but fuck me 2012 has been quite the year. So many good records it’s gonna be a really tough list to make I can tell already.

Luke Helker

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