Review Summary: Overkill show marvelously that thrash was not dead following 1990 with a fantastic follow-up to The Years Of Decay only slightly marred by the production.8 of 9 thought this review was well written
Thrash metal has always been a topic that provokes much dispute. Many claim it peaked in the mid 80's, whereas some would say it was the late 80's and even as far as 1990, with releases such as Rust In Peace and Seasons In The Abyss and Cowboys From Hell. Following this, for the most part thrash fell off the radar and crashed and burnt. History has told us that thrash was gone following 1990. Just one year later, Overkill made their reply, and it was as follows- "History can suck a chode", for in 1991 they released an absolute titan of an album entitled Horrorscope.
Horrorscope is a fifty three minute long release that packs in eleven fantastic songs that showcase a huge range of speeds and are all downright fun. Overkill have always been a band with their own signature sound, mainly characterized by Bobby "Blitz" Ellsworth roaring his lungs out in his signature high pitched shrieking voice. This album came directly off the back of the masterclass of thrash metal that was The Years Of Decay, and many a band would crumble under the pressure of trying to follow on from an album such as that. Overkill said "*** pressure", and released their highest selling release, not to mention one of their best albums to date. This is thrash metal as good as you could ask for.
As soon as you listen to this record and hear that beautifully melodic introduction to Coma you would be forgiven for thinking that Overkill has released something a little different for once. Where is the crushing opening that was found in The Years Of Decay? In it's place Overkill has delivered a seventy two second intro, but then suddenly in comes the speed. From here on out it is a riff fest of a song with some fast paced riffing and even a little groove found towards the middle of the song, with a much slower paced riff before the solo comes in and sounds amazing. The guitar work from Merritt Grant and Rob Cannavino is almost flawless on this release, with them throwing in a huge variety of riffs throughout that never fail to keep the listener entertained. There are fast riffs that launch forward full speed ahead, slower riffs that absolutely crush all in their path, and solos that shred your face off. The outro to Coma in particularly shows off the addition of a groove styling to the album.
Infectious is a lightning fast thrasher that stands out as one of the best on the album with some crazily well written riffs, but the best song on the album is Bare Bones. This starts off with a beautifully melodic piece of keyboard work that could not have worked better among the crushing guitar work that comes in alongside it. This is a song that has a lot of variety in its riff set when it picks up, and one of Bobby's best vocal performances on the album. This album shows off an even more powerful Bobby Blitz, who uses a slightly lower style of singing instead of the juvenile shrieking that carried songs such as Elimination off of The Years Of Decay. The drumming is the most complex performance of any Overkill album out of the ones that had been released before this, with some crazy double bass work found on songs like Bare Bones, and a nice performance also found on Nice Day... For A Funeral.
The only real problem that can be found with this album is that the production on it is rather bad when compared to The Years Of Decay. The bass drum is far too loud in the mix, and the snare has a horrible tone to it, and the level of crunch on the guitars makes them sound repetitive at times. Bobby's voice is also a little too loud in the mix to the point that he is overbearing among the other instruments. Aside from this, however, this is a fantastic release, and is Overkill putting two fingers up to everyone who claimed thrash was dead after 1990. Listen to Bare Bones for an indication as to how this album sounds, and then buy it and love it.