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Overkill - Horrorscope review


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Band: Overkill
Album: Horrorscope
Release date: 1991

01. Coma
02. Infectious
03. Blood Money
04. Thanx For Nothin'
05. Bare Bones
06. Horrorscope
07. New Machine
08. Frankenstein [Edgar Winter cover]
09. Live Young, Die Free
10. Nice Day...For A Funeral
11. Soulitude

By the beginning of the 1990s, metal fans had already witnessed the birth, the rise and the peak of thrash, but unfortunately for the vast majority of the bands that belonged to this genre things were about to go downhill. For Overkill, Horrorscope was a key record; guitarist Bobby Gustafson had departed in a far-from-amicable way because of disagreements regarding the musical direction, leaving the songwriting duties to bassist D.D. Verni and singer Bobby "Blitz" Ellsworth. The importance of Gustafson was obvious, since two new guitarists were recruited to replace him, Rob Cannavino and Merritt Gant. Fans feared that losing a chief songwriter would have a detrimental effect on the band, but Overkill managed to deliver a thrash classic, which would be their last until 2010's Ironbound.

Horrorscope begins with the atmospheric introductory notes of "Coma", until the heavy guitars show up to pound your ears with fury. The album is full of riffs to headbang along to, changing pace from slow to fast to frenetic. Synthetically, the songs evolve in a captivating way, the music builds up with intensity, but there are also instrumental parts that let the listener breathe. The guitar work is top-notch, with grooviness and inspiration, even though the punkish playing of Gustafson is missing a bit. D.D. Verni's galloping bass is high in the mix as usual and he teams up very well with Falck's relentless drumwork. Bobby spits out the lyrics with his familiar rage and venom and proves what a blessing rarity it is to have an exceptional vocalist in a thrash band.

There are no blatant fillers in Horrorscope and favourites may change daily depending on one's particular mood. However, the opener, "Coma", being a thrash pandemonium and the closer, "Soulitude", being pure, slow pain, stand out. Terry Date's production is a bit more polished than in The Years Of Decay, for which he was also responsible, but it brings out the best of every instrument in such a way that an album that came out in 1991 doesn't need a remaster. However, if something could be changed, that would be the snare tone, which sometimes is too much in-your-face.

Horrorscope is Overkill's most mature effort up to that point, but at the same time it's maintaining the band's New Jersey, take-no-shit attitude. It is one of the darker and heavier efforts in their long, acclaimed career and has a doomy atmosphere at times (maybe offering a glimpse of I Hear Black, which would follow) that isn't often met in this genre. And while not being on par with the band's magnum opus, The Years Of Decay, its physical copy can be placed proudly next to it in your collection.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 9
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 8
Production: 9

Written by nikarg | 19.05.2017


Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.


Comments: 1   Visited by: 32 users
19.05.2017 - 12:23
The Underdog
The production on this record is incredible I think, no real fillers, but the record would have been so much better if it had some great and memorable guitar solo's.

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