You know an OVERKILL live video is not only going to be an event, it's going to knock your socks right up your chute. Revisiting a familiar haunt, Oberhausen, Germany, where, 30-years ago, the band previously filmed, the New Jersey thrash icons ripped up Turbinenhalle 2 on April 16, 2016. The occasion, to commemorate the 25th anniversary of "Horrorscope" (to-date, the group's best-selling album) by performing it, followed by 1985's "Feel the Fire", both in their entireties. Are there any further selling points needed?
To pull this momentous celebration off, OVERKILL had to recruit Eddy "The Mexecutioner" Garcia (PISSING RAZORS), who has worked behind the scenes in the band, as an interim touring drummer. Ron Lipnicki leaving OVERKILL due to personal obligations, Garcia crunch learned 27 songs, inclusive of these two albums. As Jason Bittner has now inherited the official stool behind OVERKILL, give Eddy Garcia mensch points for his stellar job as OVERKILL releases a historic live recreation of two of its classic albums onstage, "Live In Overhausen".
Bobby "Blitz" Ellsworth, always a dry wit on the mike, yanks at his German audience by snarling, "I have one rule tonight: I'm in fucking charge because I say so." His smarm continues as he jokes, "I feel like I'm 50 years old again, this is fucking killer." For decades, Blitz has naturally come by his namesake, a Batman of the stage who obtusely slips out during Dave Linsk's guitar solos, then whizzes back into place at the mike right on the mark to resume singing: using "Coma", here, as an example.
D.D. Verni's snaky braid has been shorn, and Blitz's curls are trimmed up a smidge as the salt sneezes into his sand. To look at this elder quintet onstage versus the shaggy yesteryear lineups that recorded these albums is more inspirational than startling. OVERKILL today looks like a smog-clogged biker brigade in bandanas, black jeans, dark tees and button downs, slamming out thrash and even more thrash for two hours. It proves recent albums like "The Electric Age", "White Devil Armory" and "The Grinding Wheel" are no flukes. This is still one of the world's best damn metal acts.
"Half the time I can't recall my wallet and my keys," Verni quips on the commentary portions of the video about having to remember all these songs again. Whipping out his double-neck bass during the doom-heavy title cut for "Horrorscope", the sight of it is as much a treat for the Skullcrushers as is the proficiency and passion OVERKILL pounds into this set.
Even for 1991 standards, "Horrorscope" had a modern luster that makes for a seamless updating in this set. "Infectious", "Blood Money", "Bare Bones", "Thanx for Nothin'", "New Machine" and "Live Young, Die Free" are all perfectly played with nary a hiccup and perhaps even more thunder. Blitz giddily yelps "Liarrrrrrrr" from "Blood Money" while the ripped Dave Linsk, nearing his 20th anniversary in the band, is a madman interpreting Rob Cannavino's solos. Linsk makes you feel what he's tearing through.
Even the cover of Edgar Winter's "Frankenstein" is a total blast, which had to have been a hoot in rehearsal, since the band members remains staunch during the performance, but under their breaths, you know they're cutting up. Enjoy "Live Young, Die Free" performed live, as D.D. Verni posits it's your first and last chance.
From the "Feel the Fire" portion, "Raise the Dead", "Second Son", "Overkill", "Blood and Iron", "Kill at Command" and "There is No Tomorrow" are absolutely breathtaking, polished and efficient beyond anyone's expectations. "Hammerhead" you expect to be a live monster, but there's even more power in this set, as the band dials into the moment with reverence. "Rotten to the Core" has been in OVERKILL sets since it was written, and D.D. Verni declares it's "still a fun song to play." Naturally "Rotten" lights up the crowd, the tempo flying faster than the original cut.
The German faithful ravenously summon OVERKILL chants, whoa-ohhing and roaring through the breakdown on "Nice Day - for a Funeral". They draw strength from D.D. Verni's bass-lobbing intro to "Feel the Fire". What they do during the closeout hooligan rally of "Fuck You" shouldn't be unexpected.
"Live in Overhausen" is supplemented by commentary from Eddie Trunk and Thomas Kupfer from Rock Hard magazine along with old studio footage from 1991. If playing albums in their entirety is to be considered a device in contemporary live presentation, let this stand as a model on how it's done. ""Live in Overhausen" exceeds higher than the froth of a Spaten Optimator poured too quickly.