Sunday, April 29, 2012

Wrecking Your Neck (Part XVI)

Overkill – The Electric Age

EOne Music – 2012

Muthas, there are a few phrases that you will never, ever hear uttered in the world of Metal, such as “That Lars is a great drummer!” or “What a tender Slayer ballad” or “Overkill are a bunch of sellouts.” Especially that last one, because Overkill has been cranking out slab after slab of molten, pounding, pure steel since 1983 and they show zero signs of letting up.  They have never released a shitty album or buckled to trends in their entire existence.  Overkill has been called “The Motorhead of Thrash” for the strength of their catalog and their steadfast commitment to their signature sound. (As as an aside, does that make Motorhead the Motorhead of Motorhead? – huh?)

Here at The Metal Blog of Metal, we consider Overkill to be one of the true “Big Four of Thrash” bands (TM by Lars).  Let’s face facts, Metallica hasn’t been a Thrash band since 1988 and has sucked out loud since Metallica. Megadeth has always been clutching at the hem of Metallica’s cape and cranking out such shit as Risk along with some “return to form” albums that are middling at best.  Slayer hasn’t done anything interesting since Seasons, but at least they are consistent in their mediocrity.  Finally, Anthrax abandoned Thrash and wandered aimlessly from greatness (Sound of White Noise) to garbage (Volume 8), before finally crafting a great album with Worship Music. Through all of this nonsense, Overkill stood tall and unleashed nothing but excellent albums throughout Metal’s darkest days -- AKA the 90s. 

Like clockwork, you could rely on those Jersey boys to drop a new disc every two years that restored your faith in Metal.  Hell, 1997’s From The Underground and Below singlehandedly restored this writer’s faith in Metal during its least popular period.  Sure, some albums are better than others, and some even become personal favorites, but they have always been satisfying.  Which brings us to their newest and sixteenth (!) release overall, The Electric Age.  Did Overkill sell out and release a nu-metal, screamo, angst fest? Of course they fucking didn’t.  That shit ain’t never happening in this world or the next, as Blitz, D.D. and the boys will be cranking out more albums in Valhalla for Odin’s crew long after they are done here.  

The band has stayed true to their signature sound of pummeling Thrash sprinkled with a bit of traditional Metal and a pinch of groove. The Electric Age is not the all out, balls-to-the-wall, Thrash of Ironbound but has a bit more melody and variety.  It’s still a face-blasting, shredding, album of pure titanium with such scorchers as “Come and Get It,” “Wish You Were Dead,” and “Save Yourself.”  The first single, “Electric Rattlesnake,” typifies the varied nature of the songs with Thrashy verses and choruses and then a slower mid-section that quotes Sabbath’s “Supernaut.”  Very cool!  Check out the video below for “Electric Rattlesnake” for a taste of the goodness.

In addition, the record label released a “lyric video” for the track “Wish You Were Dead” and it’s got badassery in spades.  Check it out:

See what I mean?  Skull-splitting Metal for the rabid Thrasher in all of us.  MOSH!!!


The Bottom Line:  Buy this shit.  Don’t be some hipster asshole that whines about how Overkill albums all sound alike because it’s called a signature sound, you shitbird! The Electric Age is yet another superb album in the Overkill legacy and should be in your collection.  Buy or die!

As always, MAKE MINE METAL!!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Lay Down Your Soul To The Gods Rock ‘N Roll

3 Inches of Blood – Long Live Heavy Metal

Century Media Records - 2012

Bangers: Canadian Metal masters 3 Inches of Blood are back with their latest album Long Live Heavy Metal and it’s a triumph! As the title suggests, the album celebrates Metal in all its glory with pummeling tracks of pure brilliance. 3IOB’s songwriting has grown by leaps and bounds on this album with the band employing multiple tempos and styles of Metal. This is a natural progression from their previous album, Here Waits Thy Doom, which displayed more variety than previous efforts. Further, this is the second album without Jamie Hooper as co-vocalist and as a result, there are far fewer harsh vocals than on prior albums. This is always a good thing in the not so humble opinion of The Metal Blog of Metal.

What really sets Long Live Heavy Metal apart from previous albums is the way the band has skillfully blended their signature speedy Metal with more melodic parts. They’ve also loaded the songs up with a ton of hooks which makes this album one you will listen to over and over again. Check out the chorus in “Leather Lord” which reminds The Metal Blog of Metal of Judas Priest’s “Painkiller,” or “Dark Messenger” which is chock full of Maiden-esque, noodly guitar. The centerpiece is 3IOB’s tribute to Ronnie James Dio, “Look Out,” which is a superb track that has an excellent organ solo a la Rainbow. Check out "Leather Lord" below:

“4000 Torches” is infectious with a killer chorus that demands to be shouted at the top of your lungs. 3IOB offers up a track about Canada’s national pastime – hockey – with “Leave It On The Ice,” which rips off your face with its furious, Speed Metal attack. “Metal Woman” warns of a lady who's a “demon in the sack” which sounds less like a warning and more like a recommendation. “Men of Fortune” is an epic, seven-and-a-half minute track that features loads of melody and clean vocals. It’s the biggest departure for the band to date. Finally there are two instrumentals on the album – “Chief and the Blade,” which features a mandolin and a flute, and “One for the Ditch” which also has a mandolin and an organ. Normally instrumentals are skipped here at The Metal Blog of Metal but these are excellent and fit seamlessly into the album.

In keeping with the theme of celebrating all that is Metal, the album has a cover reminiscent of Venom’s At War With Satan. It’s very well done and the exterior is lettered in all gold ink, which is a very cool touch that looks great on the vinyl and digipak. The interior is presented as if it were an ancient tome with complete lyrics. It’s always nice when a band goes the extra mile in the presentation of their work. Hailz!


The Bottom Line: Three Inches of Blood have released an excellent album with loads of variety, melody and hook. They have really stepped up their game with Long Live Heavy Metal and let’s hope the music buying public goes out and snaps this one up. Get out there and see them on tour and buy the album!