Review OVERKILL ‘Scorched’

April 14th this year can be looked at as thrash metal Friday. Two of the genre-defining metal bands unveil their new album, representing the east coast and west coast version of this powerful metal genre. While one evolved to a mega brand the other band stayed true to their roots and passion. We are talking about Metallica and Overkill.

When Overkill started in 1980 metal was gaining momentum and the moment the band unleashed their iconic debut album, the metal community was stunned. The following Metal Hammer Roadshow, together with Agent Steel and Anthrax, gave an extra push. Since that time Overkill released numerous albums and although some were stronger than others, the New Jersey based metal icons always delivered.

The new album ‘Scorched’ is no exception in this context. In contrary. ‘Scorched’ is a stellar metal record from a band that is still on fire. The metal heart of the five guys is pumping metal through their veins, making the newest strike to a very vigorous and accomplished thrash metal release. The band always followed their passion and intuition which also means that they never followed trend or hypes. This makes Overkill to a band that is very respected in the scene with their down-to-earth approach.

‘Scorched’ is Overkill’s 20th studio album and it again reflects all the band’s trademarks without being very predictable. There is the unique voice of frontman Bobby ‘Blitz’ Ellsworth which is a main ingredient to the Overkill sound and the same goes for the typical bass lines, provides by founding member D.D. Verni. And since the guitar duo with Dave Linsk and Derek Tailer is operating well together as a riff machine, all is in place for an excellent album.

The guitar sings, the bell tolls and we are under way. It is the title track that kicks off the album and represents the best of Overkill. It is a raging tune with a typical chorus, blistering solo parts and excellent placed tempo breaks. One thing is recognizable too while intensely headbanging. Overkill takes a step back towards their roots and more than once I feel reminded the first five records from the New Jersey powerhouse.

After such a great start it is the dark ‘Goin Home’ that continues this exciting metal journey. Impressive with what level of intensity and precision the guys deliver to the point. After all the decades in metal, the quintet still fires on all cylinders.

‘The Surgeon’ starts with one of D.D. Verni’s typical bass lines, followed by a massive grooving blast that leads to ‘Twist of the Wick’. The slowly growing and oppressive start guides the listener towards the moment when a vigorous riff starts the metal inferno. Speed and fury is very present throughout and Overkill don’t take any prisoners.

A lot of groove returns with ‘Wicked Place’ while ‘Won’t Be Coming Back’ starts with a lot of traditional metal references. Still reflecting 100% Overkill the song differs a bit from the rest of the album, which in the end adds to the great flow of ‘Scorched’. Talking about twists, ‘Fever’ is another moment that surprises. The calm beginning with Blitz Ellsworth singing cleanly is something the band hasn’t offered often in the past. The tune is like a fever dream that alternates between the heavy outbursts and the nearly hallucinating moments. ‘Fever’ is great song that surprises as much as ‘Skullkrusher’ did back in 1989.

Tempo and heaviness increase again with the mighty ‘Harder They Fall’, followed by the intense ‘Know Her Name’. The riff of ‘Bag O Bones’ reflects the final chapter of this 10-tracks album. It takes a while before the tune starts to bloom, since there are some twist and layers. And there is strong R’n’R vibe embedded too which again shows the versatility of the thrash metal veterans.

Overkill always unleashed great records and their newest offer belongs to the best releases of the iconic band since years. Fans had to wait 5 years to welcome this record and it was worth the wait. ‘Scorched’ – a highlight of 2023.

Rating: 9 out of 10.


  1. Scorched
  2. Goin Home
  3. The Surgeon
  4. Twist Of The Wick
  5. Wicked Place
  6. Wont Be Coming Back
  7. Fever
  8. Harder They Fall
  9. Know Her Name
  10. Bag O Bones

Label: Nuclear Blast

Genre: Thrash Metal

Release Date EU: April 14th, 2023




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