Taking Over

Overkill

Megaforce / Atlantic Records, 1987

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 12/31/1998

Every band needs to get a start towards greatness, and heavy metallers Overkill are no exception. Although their commercial attraction has been on the wane for no good reason, their music has remained challenging and progressive, raising metal to new levels over the last ten years or so.

And then, there's Taking Over, their 1987 major label debut (and second release for MegaForce). Bobby "Blitz" Ellsworth and crew have some solid moments on this album, but the overall sound hurts the album - making it, sadly, almost indistinguishable from some of the other cutting-edge metal from that time like Slayer and Anthrax.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

At times, it's almost like the bass work of D.D. Verni is completely buried in the mix, and the "snap" of Rat Skates's drum work has been washed out. This is a major disappointment to me - possibly because I know now what this band was capable of, both in their sound and their songwriting.

Ah, the songwriting. There is more than glancing evidence that Overkill was a better than average metal act. Cuts like "Wrecking Crew," "Fatal If Swallowed" and "Powersurge" all sound just as good today as they did 11 years ago. But it's on other songs like "Deny The Cross" that the songwriting shows that it needs to grow a bit. (And, no, I'm not picking on "Deny The Cross" for its subject matter; this could have been a decent song with a little more work - and, obviously, better production.)

Ellsworth is in fine voice throughout Taking Over, and guitarist Bobby Gustafson sounds like he's doing the work of three guitarists throughout this album. Check out "Overkill II (The Nightmare Continues)" as proof of his six-string capabilities.

Sure, some of the tracks have a little bit of rust on them today, such as "Electro-Violence". But despite the production qualms I have, Taking Over is still kind of fun to listen to at times. I just wouldn't want to make this one a regular part of my diet - especially when I know that Overkill has tastier selections in their catalog.

Now, I do have to keep in mind that this was only Overkill's second album, and I'm a bit biased because I've heard a lot of their later work. But I'm not saying that Taking Over is a bad album; it's just one that shows the growing pains a metal band can go through. It's still worth a listen or two, if approached with a mixture of respect and caution.

Rating: C+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


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© 1998 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Megaforce / Atlantic Records, and is used for informational purposes only.