Released: 2014, eOne Music
At this point, it feels like I could review any new Overkill album with one sentence and WHITE DEVIL ARMORY is no exception; it’s an Overkill album. With some bands, a statement like that might be an indictment. Overkill fans and the band know that with them, it is a compliment. Most bands struggle to even stay together for 30 years, let alone continue to write vital and uncompromising music delivered with a work ethic that makes most bands look slovenly. Following up the excellent THE ELECTRIC AGE is no easy task, but WHITE DEVIL ARMORY manages to deliver.
After a brief intro, we get the mechanistic pummeling of “Armorist” carried by drummer Ron Lipnicki and D.D. Verni’s inspired playing. “Down To The Bone” is more riff-centered and accompanied with Overkill’s patented East Coast gang vocals come chorus time. Anchoring the album and my personal fave is “Bitter Pill”, a modern nod to “Who Tends The Fire” from THE YEARS OF DECAY, particularly in the chugging verse riffs before changing pace for the sinister chorus. Blitz sounds great throughout the album and the guitars are crushing, delivered with a metal purity that is equal parts modern thrash, punk and hardcore. The hardcore element is unmistakable on “Where There’s Smoke”, one of the fastest songs on the album that briefly changes pace in the middle.
One of the cool things about this album is the timely and catchy bass fills from Verni, the man putting his stamp on this album in a big way, most noticeably on the intro to “Freedom Rings”. Overkill closes things with the marching heft of “In The Name”, a mid tempo heavyweight that sees Blitz hitting the upper registers with his perfected yelp. As expected, the production and mix are perfectly suited to the neck wrecking music on WHITE DEVIL ARMORY. The word consistency is often used in most discussions about Overkill and the new album is no exception.
Lyrically, it is hard to figure out what the hell Blitz is going on about and it is here that a minor complaint could be leveled. While lyrics in metal are generally not important, it is vaguely disappointing that after 30 years the band’s lyrics are still so often cheesy and juvenile. Ultimately though, this does not detract from what is another formulaic but pleasing effort from Overkill. The band is like your favorite burger joint on the corner that you visit a few times every year because you get it exactly the way you want it. Overkill no doubt wants to make sure that they remain that street corner tradition for folks for the foreseeable future.