Overkill Killbox 13

Declining metal trends, label-hopping, and even a mild stroke have not kept Overkill front-man Bobby Blitz Ellsworth from delivering the metal goods year after year. Killbox 13 is a more venomous album than the band’s last studio effort, 2000’s Bloodletting. Catchier and more memorable songwriting is the key here: opener "Devil By The Tail” features Slayer-like guitar bridges, while "No Lights” boasts an updated yet classic thrash sound that rivals any cut from back-catalogue faves I Hear Black and Horrorscope. "The One” and "The Sound Of Dying” are guitar-screaming from the get-go, as axemen Dave Linsk and Derek Tailer blaze through solo after solo with rightful vigour. "Until I Die” is a mix of mid-paced Scorpions and Metallica harmonics, and "Struck Down” and "Unholy” recall power metallers Nevermore and Iced Earth with D.D. Verni’s sonorous bass lines. If Overkill have ever received short shrift for their uncompromising sound, then Killbox 13 (and not to forget last year’s Wrecking Everything double-live DVD) should silence all naysayers for good. (Spitfire)