Overkill - Feel The Fire
Megaforce Records
Thrash Metal
10 songs (40:19)
Release year: 1985
Overkill, Megaforce Records
Reviewed by Crims
Archive review

While other Thrash bands of the 80’s have moved on to different styles and sounds, Overkill is one of few bands that actually got heavier and more brutal than they were in the 80’s and while their new stuff is killer, in my opinion, they have their fair share of classics in the 80’s as well. Feel The Fire was their debut, released in 1985, though a lot of these songs were written in the early 80’s, before Metallica. I could write a decent history for Overkill but that is best documented elsewhere, the main thing is the raging Thrash found on Feel The Fire, as it’s definitely one of the best Thrash debuts of the 80’s.

Since most original Overkill members were in punk bands before joining Overkill, it comes as no surprise that Feel The Fire has a bit of punk influence. It’s not overwhelming, but it’s definitely there and the result is songs that are very energetic and full of back up vocal shouts, not to mention very catchy vocal melodies, which also contain a slight nod to NWOBHM. Though the vocals are definitely in the forefront, the riffs are always number one. The riffs are of course quite choppy and sometimes sound like early Megadeth, and at other times have subtle melodies that work well. Almost all the songs are fast, with possibly Hammerhead being the fastest, with a lot of double bass and classic mosh-pit breaks that I can imagine made concert goers go crazy in the 80’s. There is a good amount of riff changes and tempo switch-ups on some songs, with extended lead breaks and build up, just check out the title track to see what I’m talking about. Speaking of the title track, what an amazing song it is! It basically sounds like Iron Maiden does Thrash. I think it’s a combination of the vocal phrasing, galloping riffs and drums (Iced Earth had to have taken influence from this track), and of course melodic guitar sections, along with some cool bass work ala Steve Harris that gives it the Iron Maiden feel. Of course, classic cuts like Rotten To The Core and Raise The Dead are more straightforward, but full of energy, ass kicking riffs and explosive solos. In fact, every song has an amazing solo that fits the mood and feel of the songs perfectly. The leads are quite fast but never lose their consistency or melody, which is important.

I have to mention the vocals from Blitz Elssworth: they are simply, amazing. These days excessive smoking and drinking has made Blitz’s voice very unique and raspy, but Feel The Fire was made when his vocal chords were still young and he displays an impressive range. While he does do his raspy style every now and then, Blitz’s vocals are generally more melodic and clean. The combination of raspy and clean vocal styles work very well and the phrasing is excellent, being influenced by Dickinson and Halford I would say. Every song has a catchy chorus that you’ll probably want to shout along with, and the verses are excellent. What this all adds up to is songs that never get boring and are interesting from multiple angles. The rhythm section is also very impressive; DD Verni hasn’t really refined his unique style and sound yet but every once in awhile you hear a taste of what he would eventually become as a bass player and Rat Skates is very fast and precise behind the kit. Since this is an 80’s release, the production isn’t great, but it does have a little more kick than say, The Legacy from Testament or Fistful Of Metal by Anthrax, but it’s not as crisp or as loud as Kill 'Em All, which had really good production. The drums do sound powerful, but it’s the guitars that somewhat lack. There is a definitely an appeal to the production though, as raw 80’s Thrash production still kicks ass in my books. I should also mention the last track, Sonic Reducer, which is a cover song from a Punk band whose name escapes me at the moment. The song, despite being originally a punk song, sounds very Thrash. It’s actually quite possibly the first Thrash song as it was reportedly in Overkill’s set-list in 1979. Take that James and Lars.

All in all Thrash fans should own this without any question. If you’re an Overkill fan and don’t own this for some reason, it’s definitely worth the purchase as I feel it’s one of the best mid 80’s Thrash releases out there (once again, keep in mind most of these songs were written in 1981). Lastly, if you’re new to Overkill and like 80’s Metal, this is a great place to start. Thrash till death!

Killing Songs :
Rotten To The Core, Raise The Dead, There's No Tomorrow, Hammerhead, Feel The Fire, Kill At Command, Overkill
Crims quoted 94 / 100
Jeff quoted 95 / 100
Other albums by Overkill that we have reviewed:
Overkill - The Wings of War reviewed by Goat and quoted 85 / 100
Overkill - White Devil Armory reviewed by Thomas and quoted 85 / 100
Overkill - Horrorscope reviewed by Bar and quoted 90 / 100
Overkill - The Electric Age reviewed by Thomas and quoted 96 / 100
Overkill - Killbox 13 reviewed by Thomas and quoted 78 / 100
To see all 14 reviews click here
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