Sound — 7
Overkill was initially formed in 1980, though their sound originally was much more informed by their punk influences (especially as the band was made from members of a dysfunctional punk band that had broken up). Over time and lineup changes, and with the founding members Blitz and DD Verni taking over all the songwriting, the band became more and more deeply entrenched in a thrash metal sound, though there were some brief excursions into other styles during their career. "White Devil Armory" is the band's seventeenth album, with eleven tracks a runtime of approximately fifty minutes.
The album opens with a short instrumental titled "XDM," which has a very epic sound but lasts less than a minute. "Armorist" is next up, and this is the song that the album's title was pulled from, basically. The riffs are lightning fast, but the lyrics are cringe-worthy. "Down to the Bone" has my favorite guitar solo from the album (basically almost a cliché of a metal solo from the '80s, but with a really interesting ending) and some really serious playing - especially the drums on this track stood out to me as exceptional. "Pig" does some interesting things, but you have to get past lyrics like "welcome to the rodeo, pig pig pig/ better get to know my name/ I'm a pig pig pig." I don't even know where he's going with those lyrics. "Bitter Pill" has a clean and creepy intro which really helps give the song a lot of character, especially as the heaviness comes in. "Where There's Smoke…" is basically 4 minutes and 20 seconds of pure aggression. "Freedom Rings" opens up with a groovy little bass intro and dueling gallops on guitars, bouncing from speaker to speaker. When the actual main riffing comes in I'm hooked with this track. "Another Day to Die" opens up sounding more lo-fi than the rest of the album, and is also much more reminiscent of old school thrash for the most part. "King of the Rat Bastards" is probably one of the best song titles I've ran across in a while. The song isn't bad at all, but the chorus wasn't working for me. "It's All Yours" has some fairly interesting riffing going on, but the lyrics sound like this should be a blues-based metal track instead of what was actually delivered. The album closed out with "In the Name," which reminds me a little bit of Slough Feg for some reason. At the end of the day this isn't a bad album, especially if you like Blitz's vocals (they just aren't for me). I was impressed with a lot of things about the instrumental performances on this album.
Lyrics — 6
Okay, here it is - I don't like Blitz. I can't stand his vocals - I don't even like that style of wavery high-pitched vocals in metal. With that being said, the fact that he does what he does with his voice for over 30 years now is phenomenal. Whether you love or hate his vocals, they are masterfully done in his own unique style.
As a sample of the lyrics, here are some from the song "Armorist," which as close to a title track as this album has: "Run, run, run, like ya never did run before/ Give 'em the chill with the certified give me more/ Ain't no use in plugging in the daily grind/ We can push out more than we can even find/ Nobody looks so good as with a burst of the fire/ Give 'em what they're looking for/ It's a G-D-M-F blood filled station/ I'm a G-D-M no pacification/ C'mon now smile and die/ This ain't more than a moment in time/ So I fire/ Give 'em what they're looking for/ Armory, armory/ I'm a one man army/ I'm a warring nation/ Armory, armory/ Armory, armory/ I'm the swift cold hand/ Of retaliation/ Armory, armory." I can live with them for the most part, but it bothers me that they say "G-D-M-F" in the lyrics - just say the words or leave it out completely - the initials just makes it kind of cheesy.
Overall Impression — 7
I found myself really impressed with DD Verni's bass work and Ron Lipnicki on drums. Based off of this one album I would say that Ron Lipnicki may be one of the best drummers I have heard in a thrash metal band, ever. For those who are fans of Overkill (a.k.a. can stand Blitz's vocals) you will absolutely love this album - it is very solid musically. The weak points for me would be Blitz's vocals and some of the lyrics, but I've been straight up with you guys that I've never been a fan of Blitz. My favorite songs from the album are "Bitter Pill" and "Freedom Rings." My least favorite track would probably be "Armorist" and "Pig" because those are the tracks for me, personally, where Blitz's vocals and lyrics were just too much for me. I become more impressed musically with Overkill with each release, but man I wish Blitz would learn to do something different vocally.