CMC International Records, 1999

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


One band whose work I really started to follow in the '90s was Overkill. Once your typical thrash-and-doom band, Bobby "Blitz" Ellsworth and crew have evolved their sound into a tight musical unit. While they might not have been setting the charts on fire with works like I Hear Black (which I haven't listened to for some time), the band was creating possibly their best work of their careers. Even their last album, From The Underground And Below, showed a lot of the brilliance that this band has been pouring into their music over this decade.

Into the picture steps my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Necroshine, Overkill's latest release. It stays pretty much in the same pattern that their recent albums have. For the first time, this becomes a problem; the overall feel of the album is, "Been there, done that."

The band - vocalist Ellsworth, guitsrists Sebastian Marino (who has since announced he's leaving the group) and Joe Comeau, bassist D.D. Verni and drummer Tim Mallare - kick things off strongly with the title track, a track that dares to challenge the listener by taking more than a minute to build the song up before Ellsworth's vocals kick in. It is, however, one incredible ride that the band takes the listener on. Seeing that my daughter was happily dancing while this song was on and saying, "I like metal," the band should be pleased with the knowledge they have done well here. (This news, however, is sure to break my wife's heart, for she doesn't like most metal.)

There are enough good moments on Necroshine to make it a must-have for the Overkill fan. "My December" and "Let Us Prey" both continue the strong level of energy the album starts with, and "Forked Tongue Kiss" is a shot of adrenalin when the listener really needs it.

However, the formula that Overkill has used on many of its recent albums shows some signs of age on Necroshine, making the bulk of the album feel like deja vu. Even after several listens to this album, I found it very hard to get excited about songs like "Stone Cold Jesus," "80 Cycles," "Dead Man" and "Revelation". The diehard fans of Overkill, of course, won't find a thing wrong with these songs.

But somehow, I kind of found myself wishing that Overkill had taken a little more of a musical challenge on Necroshine, by breaking free of the style they've used with great success and thrown all in the face of abandon. They might have failed in that quest, but no one could have blamed them for trying.

Necroshine still has some solid moments on the album that make the album worth picking up, especially if you're a big fan of Overkill. But there are some serious warning signs that are showing up on this album. Here's hoping that Overkill takes heed.

Rating: B-

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© 1999 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of CMC International Records, and is used for informational purposes only.