Overkill is undoubtedly one of the kings of the thrash metal genre. While they never had the mainstream success of the often-celebrated “Big Four”, the band has nevertheless proved themselves with their unique, punk-influenced thrash sound and relentless energy.

            The band has released albums consistently every few years since the early 80s without any extended hiatus. For context on their productivity, this new album marks their longest gap between two album releases: a mere four years.

            As for the quality of their work, their albums released during the heyday of thrash metal are considered some of the best of the genre. After that, they started to alter their sound in a few different ways, but they kept enough of their thrash roots to maintain their loyal fanbase.

            This period of experimentation was met with some disappointment, but as of 2010’s “Ironbound”, the band has fully recommitted itself to pure, unadulterated thrash metal to widespread acclaim.

            This has carried on all the way until today’s subject for review, “Scorched”, which is the sixth album of this modern phase of the band. While I don’t usually go into these albums expecting anything revolutionary or mind blowing, I’m always sure that the band will deliver forty minutes of heavy, unrelenting thrash, and that’s really all they need to do.

            But this album decided to go one step further and deliver an experience that actually impressed me with how good it was. They did not change anything about their style, but the level of energy and creativity from the band has undoubtedly increased since last time.

            The band has mentioned in interviews that this album was heavily delayed due to Covid-19 causing a quarantine and canceling all live touring for a while. Perhaps the band was fueled both by the rest from this impromptu break and the angst they may have accrued from the pandemic and being forced to isolate from their bandmates.

            What we’re left with is 50 minutes of music that didn’t leave me bored for even one. The first notable highlight is “Goin’ Home”, which goes from sounding like classic Overkill in its verse section to sounding shockingly epic in the chorus with heroic lead guitar melodies and triumphant vocals.

            Another one is “The Surgeon”, which is a highly catchy and heavy tune that feels reminiscent of their classic song “Elimination” but more developed and evolved from the band’s experience over the past 40 years.

            “Won’t Be Comin Back” serves as an interesting change of pace for the album, as it’s a slower paced, more dramatically inclined track that starts off sounding like it will be a slow-paced epic in the vein of Iron Maiden before picking up with thrash riffs.

            I could continue, but I would rather stop while I am ahead instead of spoiling the rest of the album. The entire album is worth a listen if you’re a thrash metal fan. Diehard Overkill fans can rejoice knowing that this album is the band’s best in years.