Two years later the inferior, groovier Immortalis sunk the band to new lows, making ReliXIV seem more digestible in hindsight. This album was recorded and produced at Verni's Gear Recording Studio , so Colin Richardson's presence is sorely missed here in most areas. The under-produced nature of the record works to it's favor in one regard: the guitars. The chords are so thick and bold, whenever an open note comes along it rumbles your core.
This sonic attribute is utilized well during some of the more measured, deliberate grooving sections on tracks like "Loaded Rack" and "Wheelz", which both end up being highlights. Conversely we have the more mid-paced opener "Within Your Eyes" and the requisite throwback to speed metal in "Pound of Flesh", both standing out as more enterprising from a compositional standpoint. The groovy breakdown near the end is a real neck-jerker: "Come on!
Hold on! It isn't quite as bad as that one, but definitely a step down compared to his venomous delivery on Killbox He began introducing a bluesy inflection into his vocals starting here and while it later became irritating, it is forgivable here. Verni contributes his requisite gang shouts during some choruses, like "Keeper" and "Wheelz", maintaining consistency in performance and subject matter.
I have to make a special mention of "Wheelz", the main riff is monolithic and groovy, essentially sounding like the second coming of "New Machine" Well, third if we count "Crystal Clear".
The short, melodic solo at the start turns heads immediately as the groove persists for the duration. I read in interviews that Linsk recorded his guitars via long-distance, as he wasn't present in New Jersey at the time.
This collaborative bifurcation may be why ReliXIV has a groovy, atonal nature that hadn't been experimented with to this degree before its release. Mallare's swansong with the group is as disappointing as the majority of his tenure with Overkill.
Not only do the drums sound plastic and gutted, he plays like he is barely awake. I would also be lying if I said that all of these tracks were winners. The compositional prowess is there, but there just isn't quite enough of a fire lit under Linsk's ass to push him to up the ante over Killbox Regardless, ReliXIV is far superior to it's predecessor Immortalis and contains at least a few tracks that can hang with anything the band has released since Horrorscope.
Don't let its reputation as a compete throwaway turn you off, as Overkill can write great thrash in their sleep. Perhaps better though of as RelapseXIV, Overkill's full-length takes a step back to the problems that were plaguing many of its predecessors like Necroshine, W. It's not the worst of their studio efforts, its aroma more tolerable than the pungent experimentation of I Hear Black or the sorry arsed Necroshine, but after the band had begun to ascend from its qualitative slumber through Bloodletting and Killbox 13, it's a rather frustrating affair which really never needed to exist.
As I hear it, the problem with ReliXIV is that it really lacks ideas, most of the songs seemingly constructed out of the band's 90s riffing patterns, slightly altered. This was a problem with thrash metal in general in the prior decade, the band's simply ran out of inspiration to create fresh, progressive guitar blueprints that could carry the genre forward without needing to reduce it to a lowest common denominator platform of tough guy grooves for a moshing, hardcore influenced crowd who largely couldn't have given a shit about the content of metal as opposed to its inherent lifestyle.
Just laying down palm muted processions of notes doesn't cut it, and a good number of cuts here like "Within Your Eyes" or "Loaded Rack", while well meaning and loyal to the band's origins, toss away their potential on boring guitars that don't really seem to involve much effort or technical skill, just predictable chords. What's more, though, even Bobby Blitz himself seems to have been leeched of all his own charisma, and few if any of his lines through the album cling to the brain like so many he has spat in the past Structurally, there is some solid production involved with the album, nice and meaty guitars rocking along with largely mid-paced Exodus palette.
The chords are bold, there will occasionally be a thicker groove intro to "Love", for example or even a slower, tremolo picked piece. I wouldn't claim that this album had an excess of variation, though, because the songs seem to primarily hinge on slower, boring butt thrash like "Wheelz" or the mid-paced attempts to invoke the band's ritualistic enemy. Tunes like "The Mark" bring out some classic 70s metal riff sequences on top of the concrete drumming of Tim Mallere, but every card this album pulls out of its deck contributes to a losing hand.
The grooves in "Play the Ace", for example are wholly generic bar-core slop that tons of groups were writing during the Pantera dominated 90s, and "Love" is such a shit tune that the quality of its riffing surpasses even the superfluous poignancy of its simplified title.
The only song that dares pick up the energy to an appropriate level is "A Pound of Flesh" with its Slayer like speed metal velocity, but it too suffers form a dearth of creativity in the riffs. It's hardly a terrible or particularly offensive album, just lackluster in all respects. Even the boring Travis Smith cover seemed played out and redundant as with the previous record , Chaly relegated once more to the status of a gargoyle icon against a pretty uninteresting backdrop.
I suppose ReliXIV could be said to sound professional enough, but ultimately it's just another supporting brick in the band's discography to keep them active and touring, and there are no classics here that belong in their set lists for fans to pine over.
It's also one of those rare Overkill outings where the vocals are nearly as dull as the guitars. Truth be told, this does have some similarities to that album. The riff set has been pretty well simplified, there is a fair share of 2 chord grooves that come in and out, and things have been slowed down a bit. Truth be told, of all the various thrash bands who took on this style, Overkill handles it better than most and manages to keep things thrashing enough to actually live up to the half-thrash label.
The music changes up fairly frequently, lead guitar work has not been ejected in favor of making the scene, and the overall atmosphere of rotten evil remains mostly intact. In fact, almost the entire album takes the route of being catchy; sing along Anthrax brand thrash of the later 80s with a good amount of groove incorporated in.
There are a couple of songs on here that could be measured against the older Overkill standard, which is one of ugly, stinking thrash metal done in the most masterful way possible. Unlike most of their contemporaries, this outfit has yet to make any sort of ultimate plunge into mediocrity or all out sucking. Originally submitted to www.
I remember hearing great things about this band when I started listening to metal about a couple years ago. Well since I was a cheap bastard back then, I attempted to pirate every album I could find from these guys.
Sadly this was the only one I could find from them and when I had achieved it I wasn't too interested at the time. Now I took a listen to it recently and realized that this album isn't as bad as everyone thinks it is. I will admit it has weaknesses such as the lack of energy in their guitar work and the use of riff recyclery.
As for the album itself, this is basically what you would get if you mixed Overkill with a somewhat early 90's Pantera when they were considered somewhat thrashy. The solo is pretty forgetful in the song but nonetheless it is the absolute highlight of the album since it is pretty much the thrashiest song.
Then we head in a different direction with more of the groove sound. It continues to build up and speed up until it explodes! Yes indeed it is very fast and thrashy which shows a great amount of energy. Go higher! You have to keep me rolling! The metal world as a whole was in disarray and being crushed under the boot of grunge. Many bands shifted focus to adapt to some degree, and even Overkill was not immune, and in that regard, I Hear Black is remarkably better than what many of their contemporaries were dishing out.
The result makes for an album that appears to be trying a bit too hard to play with the big boys. Metal insecurity. It happens when you have a label and big names trying to push you in a certain direction. I bought the debut KISS record on my 10th birthday in That was the beginning of the end, so to speak.
I began my journalism career in high school, writing music reviews for the school paper. Years later, I would begin writing for a local music magazine in San Francisco, and eventually become its editor. In , I started writing for and eventually bought Metalholic Magazine, and a decade later I have merged it into Metal Nation. Indeed, Horrorscope was truly a mastepiece, and probably one of the best albums in metal music. Sadly, after that, everything went to shit.
Every once in a while I tried to listen some of the new songs, but I felt they just were not that good anymore. Horrorscope, taking over, killing kind, everything else. The best of all…IMO. In order of release. Keeper 7. Wheelz 8. The Mark 9. Play The Ace All music is composed by D. Verni and Bobby 'Blitz' Ellsworth. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Retrieved 3 December Retrieved The Metal Archives.Recording information: Recorded & mixed at: Gear Recording Studio, Oct-Nov Mixed by: Jon d'Uva and Overkill. Mastering: at Masterdisk NYC. Identifiers: Barcode: 6 3.