Some albums are instant hits while others grow on you. The latest offering by Overkill, The Electric Age, is a lot like that; the more you listen to it, the more you’ll like it. It’s strange to say because I’ve never had an Overkill album affect me like that but it’s 100% true. After the first listen it left me in a confused state of melancholy; I didn’t much care for it. I’ll be 100% honest; I had fully reviewed the album and was ready to submit it. But the review didn’t sit well with me and it festered. It’s only when I gave the album a few more spins that I realized how much I actually enjoyed it.
The album starts off strong enough with “Come and Get it”; it’s a great track with tonnes of energy, perfect introductory material. If this were a horse race, Seabiscuit would be off to a great start; Blitz sounds stronger than ever (and even more of a love child between Zetro and Udo), Dave and Derek are unrelenting in their dual guitar assault and D.D and Ron fit together like two peas in a pod. The band is pounding away like a jackhammer and this horse looks like it’s about to come in first place. This is what I’ve been expecting from Overkill.
But while all jackhammers start out strong, they eventually fade into the background; they become a droning noise indistinguishable amidst the entire racket.
This horse falters.
The album goes downhill somewhere in between “Electric Rattlesnake” and “Save Yourself”. The songs start to blend together and they don’t do much to set themselves apart from one another. Unfortunately, not only does the album start to repeat itself, but also it starts to echo all the new thrash albums I’ve been listening to, especially since thrash has become the new “it” genre. It felt uninspired and almost like Overkill was plagiarizing itself. Shame.
This horse falls behind.
But just when you’re ready to put the album down, it picks itself up again and dusts itself off. That’s what’s great about The Electric Age, it did what little albums have ever been able to do; it pulled me back in. The trade-off solo in “Drop the Hammer” is phenomenal and by the time you’re chugging along on “21st Century Man” the album is back in the game. This is the part of the movie where Seabiscuit is tied for last and looks the other horse in the eye, digs its hoofs into the dirt and bolts ahead.
This horse is back in the race.
The last third of the album picks up and hauls ass like a 18 wheeler on an open road. “Old Wounds, New Scars” and “All Over But the Shouting” can be said are the strongest tracks of the album and easily save it from a disappointing end. I knew Overkill could bring it back. It’s then that the final song “Good Night” kicks in, it’s what I’ve been waiting for the entire time; something different. The acoustic guitar intro is a the much needed break that the album needed half way through, I just can’t figure it out why it’s at the end.
And while this story doesn’t quite finish like Seabiscuit, the ending is nonetheless triumphant. This horse may not come in 1st but comes in a respectable 3rd or the like. It may not feel like it the first time though, but upon further listens it’s without a doubt a good album, it’s just a shame about the middle. I’m sure the more I listen to it, the more it will grow on me and maybe the songs in the middle will too, but I can’t help shake the feeling they’re just in place as filler material.
If you’re a die-hard Overkill fan you’ll love it. It’s them doing what they do best. But if you’re a new fan, it may not be enough to win you over, but enough to get you interested.