I have held back from writing a review for this album because it hit me with waves of different feelings. In other words, I have refrained from reviewing it because I didn't really know how to write a fair review. Ultimately, however, the simplest review is to say that Overkill have maintained their generally solid standard and remain on fine form. That's all you need to know but I will qualify that summary if you care to read on...
Ironbound, released two years ago, was a considerable return to form. It's not that Overkill had ever dropped the ball but, maybe, they started cruising a bit. Not so with Ironbound; it was filled with plenty of catchy and fierce riffs, a great production and enough energy to warrant a thrasher's undivided attention. I was considerably impressed and I knew it was a tall order to succeed. So, on my initial listen of The Electric Age, I felt myself underwhelmed. There were bits that were immediate but, on the whole, the songs flew by without hooking into me with any depth. It struck me as a reasonable album but little more. Like I said, I was underwhelmed. However, writing a review at that point would have certainly been rash. The songs began to fit themselves into my psyche and to really grip me, the opener, Come and Get It, is a great start (in fact, I always thought that) and then there's Wish you Were Dead, Black Daze and the excellent lines of Old Wounds, New Scars ("Got a lot of mouth for a Jersey white boy"; surely about a certain TV show?). In fact, most of the songs have their merits. So, my second reaction was that this was a more subtle but equally excellent follow-up to Ironbound. HOWEVER, again this would have also been rash. The album's good, arguably great. However, there is a reason it lacked the immediacy of its predecessor. Many of the songs are good and the album itself is solid; easily enjoyable in one sitting. However, compared to Ironbound, the song quality is not quite as high. Like I said, it was a real return and was going to be tough to surpass or even equal. And Overkill haven't quite managed it. Instead they have produced a strong follow up that is certainly worth a fan's time and could easily convert the uninitiated.
In conclusion then, I would certainly recommend this as a purchase. Obviously the deluxe package is a nice treat for not much extra in price (the longevity of the bonus dvd, though, is pretty minimal). However, I'd certainly recommend Ironbound as well and probably before. Whatever, this a great album by a great band that can really pull it out live and, despite some uncertainty, a wholly worthwhile purchase.
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