WHITE DEVIL ARMORY
Holy shit! Who saw this coming? In an astonishing detour off the band's well-trampled musical path. Their latest album ventures into heretofore uncharted territories, embracing such unexpected sonic offshoots as Eastern-tinged black metal, polka-dotted folk-metal, and, in what is sure to be a harbinger of trends to come, Tuvan throat-singing.
Nah, just fuckin' with you to see if you were paying attention. This kind of journalistic red herring is second only to starting off an Overkill review by talking about the band's remarkable consistency.
So, getting to the point, WHITE DEVIL ARMORY sounds exactly like every Overkill album since at least NECROSHINE fifteen years ago, and not too different from the four or five that came before that. The differences are so minute that only Blitz Ellsworth himself can truly say for sure. So when he claimed that 2012's The Electric Age was a "two-dimensional" album in hindsight, it made me snap my fingers and say, "So THAT'S why I had trouble remembering any songs after the first three or four!" No worries, as Blitz has declared WHITE DEVIL ARMORY to be a more well-rounded release. We mere mortals will just have to take his word for it.
Seriously, I love Overkill. I love their tunes, I love their attitude, and I love their steadfast refusal to tinker with a prize recipe. And when I say you could take any song from WHITE DEVIL ARMORY, insert it anywhere on the previous half-dozen albums, and never know the difference, I'm being honest, but it's also meant in the best possible way.
The Overkill sound is well-entrenched: you got D.D. Verni laying down the loudest bass in thrash, and you got Blitz's signature half-strangled, goiter-rattling shriek. Then you got the twin guitars of Dave Linsk and Derek Tailer, whose approach is so workmanlike you almost don't notice how talented they truly are, plus the likewise-overlooked drum frenzy of Ron Lipnicki. Top it off with a healthy dose of East Coast smartassery, and you have Overkill, friend. "Give 'em what they're lookin' for!" Blitz hollers on "Armorist," the album's first true song (after a short and completely unnecessary intro). And that's what they do.
That doesn't mean there aren't highlights. Hel no, they're everywhere. If there is a difference, it's that WHITE DEVIL ARMORY offers more consistently catchy songs than its predecessor, while still remaining utterly Overkill. "Armorist," "Pig," "Freedom Rings," "It's All Yours" and the somewhat slower "Bitter Pill," all stand out as some of the disc's best moments. As always, the band is more than ready to skid into a grinding breakdown halfway through a song, or drop a beat here and there to keep you guessing. There's just no tighter band in thrash than Overkill.
Lyrically, Blitz is his usual snide, cynical self. You can ascertain from some of his interviews what his political leanings are, but when dealing with such issues in "Pig" and "King Of The Rat Bastards," he still manages to keep everything fairly vague. His point of view could have been applicable twenty years ago, and probably will still be just as relevant twenty years from now.
PITRIFF RATING - 84/100 – Really, what's left to say about Overkill? They practice consistency almost to a fault, always playing up their strengths. They might make it hard for reviewers to come up with new things to say about them, but their music, even as bruising as it unfailingly is, has such a refreshing and reassuring, favorite-old-sweatshirt feeling of comfort, it's damn near impossible to find fault. If you don't like Overkill on at least SOME level, you just aren't much of a fan of thrash metal.