Review Summary: Overkill hones their songwriting in favor of a more technical side for their sophomoric effort.
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. For the 1987 follow up to their debut "Feel the Fire", Overkill would be signing to a major label (Atlantic), and would have the help of respected thrash metal producer Alex Perialas. The band would also retain the same lineup that played on the debut. This album also saw Overkill building upon their fan-base and getting a bit more attention from the metal community. The album entered the Billboard 200, peaking at #191 on the chart.
The music found on "Taking Over" sounds very much like technical thrash metal. Though still heavy and fast like most thrash bands, Overkill tightened their songwriting in favor of a more technical side, including more extensive guitar riffs and drum parts than the debut. The band also builds upon the theatrical side of "Feel the Fire", with many dramatic moments throughout the album. The overall feel of this record varies. Some songs come off as very angry and aggressive, and yet some feel rather ominous and intense. The production also gets a nice boost due to the band having a higher recording budget from Atlantic Records. Each instrument can be heard clearly and the mix sounds great thanks to producer Alex Perialas. There are no weak tracks to be found here, as most of the tracks transition well together and adhere to the overall sound of the record, making for a nice and cohesive effort.
One can also hear the band members showing off their talents on this release, with driving guitar riffs, hammering drums, and some improved vocals from Bobby Blitz. The music as I stated previously has a more technical feel, due mostly to the guitarist Bobby Gustafson. Also being a key songwriter for the group, Gustafson wrote more extensive guitar parts, with the riffs and solos showing much more length, speed, and skill. The Vocals have also improved, with Bobby Blitz seeming to have found his range and sound which he feels comfortable with. Unfortunately this would also be the last release we would see with drummer Rat Skates. Rat would leave the band shortly after touring in support of "Taking Over"", but Rat left some skillful drumming behind with this record.
Overkill has crafted a very fine album indeed, taking from their debut and building upon it until we get this final excellent product. The band truly sounds like they have improved from their debut. One can hear them becoming the band which crafted such classics as "The Years Of Decay" and "Horrorscope" and this makes for a pleasant listening experience. This album is perfect for fans of the band, as well as any metal fan with an appreciation of music with a more technical side to it.
- Wrecking Crew
- Overkill II (The Nightmare Continues)
Bobby "Blitz" Ellsworth - vocals
Bobby Gustafson - guitar
Rat Skates - drums
D.D. Verni - bass
Produced by Overkill and Alex Perialas
Engineered and mixed by Alex Perialas