Overkill - Feel the Fire - April 15, 1985
As soon as album-opener "Raise the Dead" kicks in, it's pretty apparent that Overkill are no rookies. The band possesses an obvious sense of drama, a flair for the epic and a serious knack for writing great songs, so much so that I truly believe that if Iron Maiden were a thrash band from New Jersey, they'd sound a hell of a lot like Overkill did in 1985. Feel the Fire is all at once a throwback and a forward-thinking affair -- it sounds a lot like the NWOBHM-meets-punk of Kill 'Em All, but at the same time it thrashes like no one really has yet. At a time when most of their brethren were banging their head against the wall at 100 mph, Overkill fully understand the dynamics of fast versus slow, heavy versus soft, and use them to great success.
Blitz's vocals are an obvious highlight. Sure, Hetfield and Araya can scream and convey anger and hatred, but Bobby can do those things and then croon and warble like (a decidedly less talented and trained) Ronnie James Dio! Bobby G's performance on guitar is another plus. Precise when it needs to be, sloppy when it wants to be and always deadly, Gustafson's riffs serves as inspiration for countless thrash guitarists-to-be. Add to that DD's thundering bass and Rat's lively drumwork, and you have the total package. I haven't even mentioned the songs, but it doesn't really matter. The album is as solid as any.
With Feel the Fire, Overkill established themselves as one of the premier bands of the fledgling thrash movement. They've put themselves in the same league as Metallica and Slayer, and at that point it's very prestigious company. How they didn't get thrown in to the "Big #", I'll never know but maybe it was for the best -- just look at them now. "Ride high, ride tall, Overkill will never fall."
Standouts: Rotten to the Core, Second Son, Overkill