Overkill – Taking Over (Atlantic 1987)

Taking Over is often hailed as Overkills best release, their Physical Graffiti so to speak. Until very recently this was the only hole in my Overkill collection. I’d heard most songs before from live records or podcasts or you know… somewhere, and looking at the track listing, I never really felt the need to procure this album. It had none of my “go to” Overkill tracks. From live records, setlists and youtube videos I know there is a few live staples and fan favorites on here.

 

Deny the Cross is a great opener, it’s fast, has a classic guitar riff and a catchy sing-along chorus. What it lacks on the studio album is a pounding, rough rhythm section continuously pushing the song forward, if you go to Youtube or a live recording you can hear what DDs bass really sound like and it’s just a big big shame the overall sound of this record is so poorly done that the bass and drums sound like crap.

Wrecking Crew is a title that the band has used, or alluded to, a lot during their career. I’m not a big fan of this cut. It’s too long and doesn’t go anywhere. On the other hand, I’m really into Fear His Name. It’s a good pointer to where the band would go in the future. Fatal If Swallowed has that catchiness typical of Overkill. With better production, this track would have been a speed metal classic. It really should be, all the ingredients are there, I’m not sure why it’s not.

 

The b-side is kind of a lett down, it’s lacking those great choruses and catchy melodies found on the a-side. The best tracks are In Union We Stand and Overkill II.

In Union We Stand is a Manowaresque anthem type song. It’s not my favorite type of metal, but it has a certain appeal, in an inner neanderthal kind of way. You know chest pounding, in a power stance with a war cry on your lips. Overkill II (The Nightmare Continues) is the continuation of the last track of the debut Feel the Fire. It’s is a mid-paced, but kind of progressive, almost doomy at times, blend of different metal genres. It’s just great  and fist pounding.

 

There are few things I really don’t like on Taking Over. First of all, the production sucks. Like most of Atlantic’s metal releases from the eighties, this sounds very low budget, with almost no bottom at all. The sound is thin, almost tinny. The guitars aren’t squealing, they’re whining. The drums sound worse than my bedroom recordings from my early teen years and the bass is almost not present at all. Come on fellows, lets clean this up and release a remastered version. I’d buy it.

The second thing is the incredibly bad cover art. It just screams “I’m from the eighties”. With today’s technology it looks just bad, unforgivingly poorly done. But taken into consideration that this was released in 87, I guess it’s OK.
Recommended tracks: Deny the Cross, Fear His Name, Fatal if Swallowed, Overkill II

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