Overkill Immortalis

When they joined the Bodog roster this year, Overkill were reunited with Jonny and Marsha Zazula, the former Megaforce Records owners who first signed Overkill for their 1985 debut full-length, Feel the Fire. Over two decades and nearly 20 releases later, Immortalis is an apt title from this undying East coast thrash institution. Opener "Devils in the Mist” has an old Pantera (circa "Primal Concrete Sledge”) heft, spotlighting screaming solos. "What It Takes” and "Skull and Bones” (the latter featuring Lamb of God’s Randy Blythe) retain the well-worn Overkill template of mid-paced thrash, while the groovy "Hellish Pride,” "Head On” and especially "Walk Through Fire” spread out like the harder rock from Megadeth’s Countdown to Extinction. "Hell Is” ultimately hearkens back to their Atlantic years, specifically I Hear Black. But album closer "Overkill V… The Brand” is one of the band’s finest moments, containing every facet of greatness — Bobby "Blitz” Ellworth’s grand storytelling, a breakneck, Maiden-esque gallop and dual guitar assault — and even ends with a cliffhanger-ish "to be continued” vibe. Their more accessible style is certainly unbalanced as compared to their aggro-thrash material, but Overkill are comfortable with this juxtaposition on Immortalis, and hopefully next time they’ll tip the scales to the dark side. (Bodog)