The Overkill “Wrecking Crew” was a great Thrash band in the eighties, no question about that. One of the things that set Overkill apart from the hundreds of Thrash metal bands of the same era was the fact that they stuck to their guns and played on through every passing trend, with some great albums along the way, without compromising anything about their style from the nineties into the present. Another one of the nice things about Overkill is in the eighties they had enough punk/hardcore flavor in the music to keep things interesting and also simultaneously stayed closer to the Hard Rock line of things as well, which made their albums stand out.
The most important thing though is they stuck around through thick and thin in the fickle music industry and were seemly impervious to trends. This has rewarded them with a loyal fanbase, myself included. “Immortalis”, their 15th studio album (if you include the self released ‘84 LP), finds the band with much the same sound as the past few records like “Relixiv” and “Killbox 13″. The production is top notch, all the instruments are more than decent but the flaw of Immortalis is the same as with Relixiv -the album starts out with some great material and the second half just doesn’t hold up.
“Devils in the Mist” opens the album with a heavy, speedier song with tons of groove. From there it only gets better with the flawless “What it takes”. The goodness keeps with “Skull and Bones” which features Randy Blythe of Lamb of God. When I heard he had guest vocals on this song I cringed not being a LOG fan, but actually the song is tastefully done.
There is plenty of tempo variety, plenty of memorable riffs and some downright impressive song writing. The problem is the bland/boring numbers like “Hellish pride” and “Hell is” and the ending track take away from the intensity and groove that the first half of the album commanded.
“Immortalis” is a good album for the first half alone, but it doesn’t improve on the sluggish tendencies of “Relixiv” in the latter part of that record and in fact just repeats the same mistakes. If you’re an Overkill fan you will probably enjoy this record in parts but don’t come expecting “Horrorscope” or “Years of Decay” or even something on par with “Bloodletting”. The fact that they still produce competent records after all these years should get you to buy this release anyway.