Apart from the new Accept album, The Electric Age is probably the most anticipated thrash release of 2012. Why? Two years ago, Overkill put out Ironbound, a killer of a record that brought together all the various elements of Overkill’s not insubstantial discography in a sophisticated, cohesive and utterly brilliant whole. Ironbound was, to me, the pinnacle of Overkill’s sound – it was what they’d been shooting for all these years, and they’d finally reached it. The problem is, when you’ve released an album like that – an album that many fans consider the peak and the zenith of your abilities – how do you follow it up?
You follow it up with The Electric Age, and you raise a middle finger to all who doubted you.
If you were a fan of Ironbound, you’re going to love The Electric Age, as it basically takes the sound Overkill perfected on that record, and extends it even further. If you’re not a fan of Ironbound, you’re just silly. Namely, D.D. Verni’s epic, thunderous bass sound that raised Ironbound above so many other decent thrash albums still soars like a storm cloud over this album. The deepening of the bass balances the high screams and lightning fast guitar work to create the ultimate thrash monster. The songwriting on The Electric Age is also more dynamic, with slower sections and darker riffs interspersed with all the thrash craziness.
I am struggling to pick out memorable songs, simple because this is one of those rare albums where every track grabs you. The opening of “Come and Get it” reminds me of Metallica’s “Fight fire with Fire” – in fact the whole album has the feeling of Kill ’em All‘s take-no-prisoners thrash attack, except, of course, with better vocals. “Electric Rattlesnake” – has some silly lyrics, but awesome riffs and vocals. “Black Daze” is another ripper, and “Drop the Hammer” … look, just listen to the damn thing.
If this does not appear on the majority of writers’ “Best Albums of 2012” lists … I will eat my favorite hat. It is a NZR Diesel drivers hat which I wear when I’m driving trains, and I quite like it. This is no idle bet, but I don’t expect to lose.
For a band with such a prolific – and not wholly exceptional – history to be pumping out such quality albums right now, with the landscape of metal changing so dramatically, with genres hopping in and out of fashion every five minutes … it puts a real smile on your face. Thank the gods for thrash metal, which doesn’t need innovation to still sound good. Thank the Gods for Overkill.
Following the official release of The Electric Age on March 27, Overkill will be touring coast to coast in the states (… and New Zealand too, right guys? Right?) Details for the album and tour details can be found on Overkill’s Official site.
Here’s a behind-the-scenes video from the making of the album
And here’s so you can hear “Electric Rattlesnake”