White Devil Armory
7/23/2014 - Review by: T. Ray Verteramo
I'll say this for them: Overkill knows who they are. "Experimentation, stylistic departures, overtures toward the mainstream? That's somebody else's game." That's what they say and I can't disagree. Strap on your boots boys and girls, this release was made for the pit.
Spitfire drums, crunching axes, pissy-screaching Vince-Neil-on-crack-vocals to thunder classic riffs reminiscent of the good-ol' days when S.O.D. and Exodus ruled the college airwaves, "White Devil" serves up some unclean fun driving and diving music for the conformity-impaired. Overkill, after 30 years and 14 albums later, took their noise Viagra this year as there is not a single soft track on the 11-cut project that lacks in speed.
The intro, "XDM" (whatever that means) sounds like a badass engine farting with mock gongs and fanfare which pelts right into the unpretentious "The Armorist," and just keeps right on going. This album is full of callbacks, chants – even the irresistible gothic "aah's" after the bridge in "Down To the Bone" – and will no doubt interpret very well live, should they be wise enough to tour to support this release. "Bitter Pill" demonstrates some guitar work and chord progressions with a dark twist, though the melody line doesn't sound much different than Grace Jones' classic, "Demolition Man" but, I'll be damned if "If There's Smoke" did not take a big ol' page out of Metallica's "Damage Inc.", at least until the vocals kick in. Not saying that the band is shallow; "PIG" may sound like adolescent ranting, but it's actually a thoughtfully well-crafted song. Lyrics like "Dig a grave or foxhole, pile up the bodies – Welcome to the rodeo, got you on the video," aren't pissed out in the bathroom. Credit where credit's due...
Production? Whatever. Doesn't matter. It's not meant to be pretty. It's not meant to be clean. Yes, there are times when the drums pummel all over everything and the bass sounds like it's emerging from a swamp, but, that's part of the charm. For Overkill, it works. For anyone not determined to stick to the formula since the 80's, maybe not, but that's another review. Overkill, once again, proves they know the difference between "thrashy" and "trashy." If you want deep, then go to your cave, dim the lights, light some black candles, and put on some Xasthur. But, if you want a bite into that York Peppermint Metal for that crisp, cool sensation of having someone's elbow shoved up your nose, just slam it in and hit "play." You'll love this.
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