Overkill - W.F.O.
Thrash Metal
11 songs (52:43)
Release year: 1994
Overkill, Atlantic Records
Reviewed by Ben
Archive review

We're going back to the dreaded mid to late nineties this week to unearth some majestic metal gems that might have been lost to the ravages of time. Overkill have always been a band that's been near and dear to my heart, and growing up in the nineties I made myself real familiar with all their eras including these "lost" albums. In fact, I actually have really great memories wrapped up in these albums. Here's hoping a couple of reviews make this era a bit more known.

W.F.O came out on the heels of their Black Sabbath worship album, I Hear Black. If you look at reviews and opinions now, I Hear Black is seen as the "black sheep" in the discography. Well, not really if you're a fan. The band has always been very upfront about their influences, and the groovy doomish sounds of I Hear Black weren't exactly shocking if you knew about where the band came from musically. For W.F.O. however, Overkill brought back the speed and fast ass riffs, but they also tweaked their sound just a bit. The guitars and especially the bass sound much more akin to Pantera and hardcore bands like Biohazard. So, essentially you have a modern sounding thrash record! This is immediately apparent when the first song Where It Hurts kicks in. Starting with a repeating guitar pulse, this explodes into an angry ass riff with pounding drums and clanging bass. There's some groove going on with the guitar riffs, but it's subtle compared to some of their later works. Fast Junkie eschews any type of head bobbing and trades that for furious head banging. Goddamn, Blitz's vocals on this are so intense. Fast Junkie is about a guy addicted to speed and Blitz has this manic rage and hysteria in his voice. By the time he reaches the song's climax where he belts the album title, "WIDE FUCKIN' OPENNNNNN," you start to think the guy is legitly insane from methamphetamine withdrawal. Just pure build up and release, to quote The Man, "Gogogogogogogogogo!"

After the one two punch of Where It Hurts and Fast Junkie leaves you winded, The Wait / New High In Lows brings things to a crunchy mid tempo stomp. A little sidenote, the intro has a sample from the movie Carlito's Way, and the speech and stirring strings from the sample are ingrained in the atmosphere of the songs so well that the band includes the sample intro when playing this live. Sonically, Under One and Bastard Nation are other mid paced songs that crush. Bastard Nation had a video made for it and this is THE anthem of the album. I'm actually surprised it's not an Overkill staple. The intro lulls you into a sense of cushy security with its clean electric guitar. You start to think this might be a continuation of the really pretty sounding acoustic ballad R.I.P. (Undone). However, and you should know better by now, the band kicks into a highly charged political song that drips with anger, disappointment with the government, and vitriol directed at the flaccid powers that be. The chorus is essentially a rallying battle cry that's made for rioting. While the bass is very prominent and provides the heartbeat to the song, again Blitz steals the show with his vocal performance. Throughout the outro, he'll yell between the gang shouts and this just adds that extra layer of bad assery to push this song to the top.

In case it's not glaringly obvious, I think very highly of this album. When I got into Overkill, The Killing Kind was their most recent release and I hadn't yet gotten the internet. Me and my one metal friend found out about bands through liner notes in cds, and magazines like Metal Maniacs, Terrorizer, Pit, etc. Because of that, I believe we were more appreciative of GOOD METAL in those dark times. Shit, I barely even listened to W.F.O while writing this because I've heard it so many times that it's an easy album to write about. On the following tour, they recorded one of the greatest live albums ever in Wrecking Your Neck - Live and many of the songs here are played live alongside their classics if you prefer to hear them in that setting.

Killing Songs :
Where It Hurts, Fast Junkie, Bastard Nation, They Eat Their Young, Supersonic Hate
Ben quoted 85 / 100
Other albums by Overkill that we have reviewed:
Overkill - Scorched reviewed by Goat and quoted 85 / 100
Overkill - The Killing Kind reviewed by Ben and quoted 80 / 100
Overkill - Wrecking Your Neck reviewed by Ben and quoted no quote
Overkill - From The Underground And Below reviewed by Ben and quoted 77 / 100
Overkill - The Wings of War reviewed by Goat and quoted 85 / 100
To see all 19 reviews click here
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