Review Summary: A decent and confident debut from Overkill, despite some production issues.3 of 3 thought this review was well written
Hailing from New Jersey, Overkill formed in 1980 making them one of the earliest thrash bands to come into existence. The band is also one of the most stable and active thrash bands, having played together for nearly 33 years. The debut album "Feel the Fire", was at its time one of the most highly regarded thrash albums in existence. It contains a few fan favorites such as "Rotten to the Core" and "Raise the Dead". The album certainly looks cool, with the band standing as shadowy figures, with the fires of hell presumably behind them. The album cemented the band as a force to be reckoned with, and a key player in the thrash world.
The album unfortunately suffers from shoddy production, which wasn't uncommon back then for a bands debut. The overall volume could be a bit higher, and sound could be cleaned up a bit. What the album really needs is a good mixing to fix all these minor issues, but nevertheless bad production is not a big deal, so long as the music makes up for it, and the music is in fact very good. The Music found here is very Intense and aggressive, with the band playing confidently and efficiently. The music can even be considered slightly theatrical at times, with Overkill taking their music very seriously. Each track sounds unique from one another and the songs mold well together. The only real downside can be found in a lack of innovation. Simply put some tracks can sound a bit boring and dull after a couple listens. However their remains some stand out tracks such as the heavy and riff driven "Rotten to the Core" and the incredibly epic "Overkill".
Each band member holds their own and brings something to the table. Tight Drumming, Skilled guitar and bass, and unique singing makes the band sound like seasoned veterans. The Vocals are honestly hit or miss. Blitz has a very raspy voice that may turn some off, but at times his singing voice shines through and almost sounds reminiscent of one Bruce Dickinson. Another highlight is the guitarist Bobby Gustafson, who consistently produces great solos on nearly each track. The riffs are also for the most part good, but a couple can sound a bit repetitive and stale like in the song "Feel the Fire". The bass frequency is also a bit low, with the guitars and drums overpowering it most of the time, but the drums make up for it by keeping things interesting and tight, holding it all together.
Despite some minor production issues and a couple bland songs, "Feel the Fire" is a confident release form the band, and it showed what the band was capable of. It was definitively a great release for a debut, but probably not the ideal starting point for newcomers.
- Raise the Dead
- Rotten to the Core
Bobby "Blitz" Ellsworth - vocals
Bobby Gustafson - guitar
D.D. Verni - bass, backing vocals
Rat Skates - drums
Produced by Carl Canedy
Engineered by Alex Perialas
Released: April 15, 1985