“Immortalis” (Deluxe Edition) by Overkill

Artist: Overkill
Title: “Immortalis” Deluxe Edition
Label: E1 Entertainment
Release Date: 10/25/2010
Genre: Thrash Metal
Rating: 4.5/5

Almost as fast as it appeared as a brand name for music, Bodog Music was gone and that left our boys in Overkill needing a label in order to properly deliver their message of Thrash Metal mayhem. Fortunately the band would lock in a deal with Nuclear Blast Records in Europe and E1 Entertainment here in the good old USA and all was well in the world. The band had released what was cited as their finest work to date with “Iron Bound” and even better for their fans, would re-release the album “Immortalis” and the live DVD “Live At Wacken 2007” in one sleek package. Having reviewed each item when they were initially released I am re-presenting those words for your ease of keeping track. Then I will close out with a few additional thoughts. Here we go.

Now some twenty seven years into their career the guys in Overkill have little to prove about their mastery of the Thrash Metal movement that is now mainly considered a vital segment of the hallowed Old School sound that many of us grew up on. Despite this, the legendary Thrashers return with “Immortalis”, their 14th studio effort, and it is here that we find the band returning more to their classic sound with just enough of the Metal fury of today. It also found the band reunited with Johnny and Marsha Zazula who helped initially launch the Overkill name into the Metal stratosphere. As an album it’s solid and definitely shows the world that they are not relics from the past who don’t know the scene that is around in Metal’s present day. One of the songs that prove this quite clearly is “Skull And Bones” which offers up a duet between Blitz and Randy Blythe from that band they call Lamb Of God (perhaps some of you have heard of them :). The two bands shared the stage at the second Gigantour and it was a great way for the Old School to meet the New. When compared to their last studio release “ReliXIV”, I have to admit that I liked this one a little bit more because on top of the thrashing there was a little more musical experimentation than I expected to find Overkill doing.

Of course the band could always play, but this time they showed different skills in my opinion and the signs of their being elder statesman of the genre were a little more visible. A good example would be during “Hell Is” which is a speedy track at some portions but then slows down to a chunky groove to give you a breather before it begins to kick your ass again. I prefer the changeups as opposed to one throttling contiguous riff nowadays because that will get boring even if it’s Overkill who is doing it. I found a definite driving tune on “Walk Through Fire” because when it played I just felt myself sitting in the car with friends as we headed on to the next Metal show. Perhaps you will come to a different conclusion but that was mine. The Blitz’s voice sounds as intense as always but he does tend to show that he can change it up as he needs to and maybe it was his side-project The Cursed that led him to try some different vocal things this time around. D.D. Verni remains one of the top Metal bassists around and continues to dole out the thunderous bass riffs. The guitars are once again ably handled by Tailer and Linsk who are proving to be a worthy pairing for the continuation of Overkill music going forward. They sound good together and that’s all that matters. The album does find their new drummer recording with them for the first time with Ron Lipnicki, who stepped in for Tim Mallare a couple of years ago. His playing seems to work for the band pretty well so I think he was a good choice as far as players went. I’ve always found that you get what you paid for with Overkill and their music. Like all bands they have had ups and downs and hits and misses but with their core writing membership still in place I think that we have another winning release on our hands from the band and perhaps their best in a number of years. They continue along the same path that they helped to forge and remind us that they are not going away any time soon. As far as the classic Metal sound, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

The DVD:

Wacken Open Air has long been considered the Metal Festival of note for many, many years and over the course of its three days plays host to tens of thousands of head bangers who get to indulge in the performances of dozens upon dozens of the worlds most popular Heavy Metal bands. Legendary Thrash Metal icons Overkill are no strangers to a stage like this one but it’s the first time that their fans are treated to the full set performed by the group on a DVD. It’s the perfect thing for those of us who have too many commitments to allow for a quick jaunt over to Germany to indulge in a hefty dose of Metal mayhem. “Live At Wacken Open Air 2007” presents to the home viewer just what it sets out to without the addition of any unnecessary bells and whistles. Instead it’s a full fifty minutes of head banging delight at the hands of the genres respected veterans. The group had just signed their deal with Bodog Music and delivered “Immortalis”, an album that not only found the band returning to a little more of their roots in terms of musical direction but also a move that paired them up again with Johnny and Marcia Zazula of Megaforce Records days gone by. This DVD is actually the second one from Overkill as the first was “Wrecking Everything”, a double DVD devastation from Asbury Park, NJ where you not only got the concert but a cool batch of additional features as well such as a band documentary. Such things can often be dreadful, but a band that was as do it yourself from the streets of the cities of New York and New Jersey like Overkill was sure makes for some interesting viewing. This film however is just the concert and if you feel this is not enough to pique your interest then just look at the song selection. We get some of the vintage tunes on this one and they are stacked up against a couple of the bands newest tracks and believe it or not they all stand strong together. The material on this set is rock solid and the band is in incredible form as they continue to show that Old School in no way at all means too old to rock like Hell. Having seen Overkill in concert a number of times over the years I enjoyed in particular how this shows the band with almost a new confidence about their place in the scheme of things. They always come off like they on top of their game but with this video it just seemed a little bit more so. This is a straight concert shoot but unlike many we see this one manages to get in great angles and shots from behind the drum kit and from all guitar players. There are even a couple of shots from Bobby’s microphone “Blitz Cam”. While it only runs ten songs in length one can say that the entire performance is a worthy highlight as opposed to a single tune or three. I enjoyed seeing the classic numbers “Rotten To The Core” and “Wrecking Crew” performed alongside new tracks like “Skull And Bones” as it works but I admit I was a little disappointed in the fact that no surprise visit from Lamb Of God’s Randy Blythe took place since he does the tune on the album with them. Such things are not uncommon at festivals like these.

I watched this straight through a couple of times before I turned it off and found that it totally serves one’s Metal need when it came down to it. Give it up for Overkill who are still going strong after more than two decades in the business and don’t seem to be slowing down in the least.

Now that you have indulged in the original views about these two now in one releases lets briefly touch upon the deluxe edition and why you need it. The first and most important part is that it is likely going to be hard to find either with the company no longer being solvent and the second, well, you can now dispense with two items and replace them with one. We also get three killer live tracks from the band that are recorded in Germany from a not too long ago show. The tracks while brief, do manage to visit the studio album before “Immortalis” and also reach way back as far as “Feel The Fire”. They sound great and were a welcome inclusion. The booklet appeared to be the same with the exception of an additional page to line out the DVD specs. Having never owned a full on copy of the DVD when it was released and only a burned copy for promotion, I do not know what might have been left out of the original packaging. Fans from the states might be interested in knowing how the “Live In Wacken” DVD had initially been included in the European pressings of “Immortalis” and now the rest of the world can join them for the Deluxe version.

It’s well into the Metal year of 2011 and I am happy to report that Overkill is still kicking ass, taking names, and kicking a little more ass for good measure. I would not have it any other way. Pick this one up without question and be sure to see Overkill in concert as it’s a Metal experience not easily forgotten.

Track Listing:
1. Devils In The Mist
2. What It Takes
3. Skull And Bones
4. Shadow Of A Doubt
5. Hellish Pride
6. Walk Through Fire
7. Head On
8. Chalie Get Your Gun
9. Hell Is
10. Overkill V
11. Within Your Eyes (live) – bonus
12. Nice Day For A Funeral (live) – bonus
13. Blood And Iron (live) – bonus

Track Listing: DVD
1. Rotten To The Core
2. Elimination
3. Necroshine
4. Thanx For Nothin’
5. Skull And Bones
6. In Union We Stand
7. Walk Through Fire
8. Wrecking Crew
9. Old School
10. F**k You

Official Website: http://www.wreckingcrew.com

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