OVERKILL Frontman: 'We Know When The Energy's There, And We're Taking Advantage Of It'

On February 24, Radio Metal conducted an interview with vocalist Bobby "Blitz" Ellsworth of New Jersey thrash metal veterans OVERKILL. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

Radio Metal: Since "The Electric Age" was the first album written after [the 25th] anniversary, were you in a special state of mind while writing it?

Bobby: I don't think so, I mean it's business as usual. We have a process, we obviously enjoy it, we don't try to overthink it. I think that is really the key to success. There's something right now that we have with the band that's a very positive chemistry. I think a lot of that is due to [drummer] Ron Lipnicki. He's been the last member to join but he's been here for seven years and he brought the level of energy to a higher level. He's the new guy and he brings a higher energy. Everyone has to match that energy or otherwise you're left behind. And I think that's where we're getting our success from. Overthinking would be wrong. D.D. [Verni, bass] and I were sitting around and having a coffee and I said, "What do you think about the new record?" and I think he took a sip and said, "We are not gonna reinvent the fuckin' weel, are we?" Well, I don't think so! [laughs] So it's a very simple process for us. Get the job done, don't repeat yourself, keep the energy level high.

Radio Metal: The new album is called "The Electric Age". Is this a way to define the current state of the world?

Bobby: No, not necessarily. This is a really simple way of looking at a time period. I mean, we talked about 25 years early on in the interview, and I think that when you start talking about one period of time, you're obviously talking about an age. This is not necessarily about electric instruments, but more so about electricity. OVERKILL is synonymous with energy. I think electricity is a synonymous with energy. I think electricity is that we've been able to create between band and public that really makes it one. I think that's really one of a key of our success: we know when a room is electric, when a record is electric, we know when the energy is on a high level, and we exploit it! And that's why I think a band like us is still around for a period of 25-plus years. We know when the energy's there, and we're taking advantage of it.

Radio Metal: Whereas "Ironbound" had some epic, kind of progressive parts, this new record feels more direct and straight to the point. Was this album written in reaction of the previous one?

Bobby: Well, it's not really a reaction, since I think the record was accepted very well. Regarding "Ironbound", it took me one year to figure out what that record was all about. You can't be objective on it when it's new. It takes a while for me to even feel what we've created. I was excited around it. I think it showed many of the different elements of what OVERKILL's about. But I think that the most important element again is energy. I think that it's an aggressive energy, and I don't mean that in a negative perspective — aggressive energy can be very positive — whereas "The Electric Age" does have a positive-hype feel. We forgot our most aggressive representations, much like records that have had that feeling in the past, but with a very contemporary presentation. So I think it's rooted in what we've done, but presented with regards to what we are. Sure, there's a lot of notable differences between them, but a song like "Electric Rattlesnake" contains pretty much every element that "Ironbound" had, it's fast and it breaks down to half-speed, then it breaks down to a quarter-speed after that, with slower, more progressive-type, dreamlike vocals, great guitar parts put through them… But I do agree with you that by and large "The Electric Age" is a more straight-forward approach than the "Ironbound" record was.

Read the entire interview from Radio Metal.

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