Great Metal Albums of 1987: Overkill- Taking Over

In recent months, there has been a lot of talk as to which thrash band should join the big four to make the big five. Exodus is the most likely favourite, especially as it got a nod from Anthrax’s Scott Ian. Testament is another strong choice and I will keep plugging Kreator. However, I suspect that there are a good number of metal fans from Northern New Jersey who might speak out for Overkill. I’d be the first to say that they’d be a long shot, even though they were brilliant at Bloodstock 2015. However, after listening to their 1987 album, “Taking Over,” those odds might have got a little shorter.

Overkill establishing their dominance, Bloodstock 2015

The first two songs on “Taking Over” are a one massive thrash party. The sheer ferocity of those songs convince me that Overkill are a genuine thrash band as opposed to some of the pretenders that were coming out at the time. Then we get to the third track, “Fear His Name,” where Overkill prove that they are far more capable of just hammering out power chords at 500 mph. They slow down for the track and Bobby ‘Blitz’ Ellsworth shows he does have some good melody to his vocals and then there’s the shredding of Bobby Gustafson and boy can he shred!

“Use Your Head” doesn’t quite go back to the speed of tracks one and two but it has it’s moments. It’s definitely faster than the preceding track and there is a good power chord mosh part in the middle of the song. While the two Bobbys do what they do best on the song, I have to point out the contribution of the rhythm section on this one, which is very good. Furthermore, I am amused by the lyrics, “You’ve got a lot to learn. You got your head up your ass.”

Is there such a thing as progressive thrash? Because that’s what it seems like Overkill are trying to do on “Fatal If Swallowed.” The intro to this is really way out there before going into some fast thrash chords, which carry on for the remainder of the song only slowing down slightly for the guitar solo. But even though I have sung the praises of the first five songs, the second half of the album is even better. The title of the track “Powersurge” explains it all. Instead of slowing down, the band get their second wind and go even more thrashing mad nuts. All starting with a brilliant bass line from D. D. Verni.

It only gets better after that as the two best tracks on the album come in. Now, if I was thirty-five years younger and “In Union We Stand” was put on an infinite loop on a personal stereo, I could have won gold in the 10k walk at the Olympics. Whenever I hear the song, I just want to get up and move about really fast as the song has that effect. I love how the thrash guitars carry the verse before going full power chords at the chorus. It’s not only my favourite song on the album, but my favourite Overkill song of all time! You can imagine how absolutely nuts I went when the played it at Bloodstock.

A peaceful coexistence is dropping out of sight

So band together, together we will fight

Blasting the resistance, marching to the top

They started this, we say when it stops.

It’s another great song calling metalheads to unite but it doesn’t end there as “Electro-Violence” is also another great thrash track. If they had played this at Bloodstock, I would have been blown out of Earth’s atmosphere. This fast and furious song makes it perfectly understandable as to why the album ends with a more progressive song which is over seven minutes long. Saying that, there’s some great power chords on that one as well. Still, it ends the album on the right note.

Track Listing:

  1. Deny the Cross
  2. Wrecking Crew
  3. Fear His Name
  4. Use Your Head
  5. Fatal If Swallowed
  6. Powersurge
  7. In Union We Stand
  8. Electro-Violence
  9. Overkill II (The Nightmare Continues)
Overkill

Bobby ‘Blitz’ Ellsworth- vocals

Bobby Gustafson- guitars

D. D. Verni- bass

Rat Skates- drums

“Taking Over” presents a good argument as to why Overkill should be considered as a candidate for making the Big Four the Big Five. But the question is whether their other albums measure up. Their previous one, “Feel the Fire,” also makes a good case. However, whether you think Overkill are a contender or not, this album is definitely a great one.

Next post: Whitesnake- 1987

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com

To sign the petition to have Bruce Dickinson get a knighthood, click the link: https://www.change.org/p/special-honours-committees-for-knighthoods-a-knighthood-for-bruce-dickinson

6 Responses to “Great Metal Albums of 1987: Overkill- Taking Over”

  1. Utterly superb album 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s a spectacular record. I don’t know about an addition to the Big 4 but they’d be a big part of a “second” big 4 alongside Testament, Exodus and someone else.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are most probably right about the Big 4 and you have a good case for a second Big 4. This album would cement Overkill’s place in it. As for the ‘someone else.’ my vote would go to Kreator.

      Like

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