OVERKILL
"Fuck You and Then Some/Feel the Fire"

(Megaforce)

For complete track listing, see Amazon.com

RATING: 8/10

Not so much a song as an excuse for a chorus (one that owes more than a little to oddball L.A. punks FEAR), “Fuck You" was pretty ballsy for the PMRC-infected 1980's. It made the rounds of parties and dubbed tapes, along with other over-the-top, too-hot-for-Friday Night Videos fare likeS.O.D.'s "Speak English or Die" back in the day, helping ensure OVERKILL a place in metal history. Hell, a couple zigs where they zagged, and they mighta ended up busting into the Big Four (METALLICA, MEGADETH, ANTHRAX and SLAYER) — tell me "Hammerhead" and "Rotten To the Core" don't still stand up to "Metal Thrashing Mad" or "Die By the Sword"!

Twenty-odd years later, the live tracks that pad out "Fuck You and Then Some" (recorded in Cleveland in '87 and New York in '90) still slay with that manic mid-80's thrash energy. These New Jersey devils always had up-yours East Coast attitude and punk roots to spare, but in Bobby "Blitz" Ellsworth they had a vocalist who could soar as well as snarl, mixing the best elements of the snotty hardcore of the day and the rising American "power metal" and thrash movements. And in guitarist Bobby Gustafson and bassist D.D. Verni they had dual riff machines, spitting out the kind of seemingly effortless jams that would lay the foundation, along with the aforementioned Big Four and a host of fellow second-stringers (TESTAMENT, EXODUS, you name it), for the metal of the rest of the decade, and beyond.

Some would say OVERKILL calcified and never "grew up" after Feel the Fire hit in 1985 — indeed, Ellsworth and Verni soldier on today with new members, a daunting back catalog and a good portion of that era's attitude and playbook intact. But the fact remains that both "Fuck You" and "Feel the Fire" are historical documents, as essential to any well-rounded metalhead's record collection as "Kill 'em All", "Hell Awaits" and "Killing Is My Business… And Business Is Good". Having this entire early swath of OVERKILL's career in one anthology just kicks ass — letting vintage metal go out of print and become the domain of eBay speculators is a damn shame, especially when it still holds up this well.

Get this because of "Rotten To the Core", "Fuck You", "Hammerhead" and "Feel the Fire". Get this because the punters screaming along on the live tracks in Cleveland are now all old enough to be your parents, and you need a history lesson. Get this because you've never checked out the skinny-Elvis version of one of America's metal treasures. Just get it, dammit!

If you don't, then… well… do I even need to say it? (P.S. Rating reflects skimpy booklet, lack of new photos, liner notes, or much of anything else. Labels, you want people to buy reissues like this, and not file-share your bands' back catalogs? Make it worth their damn while, will ya?)

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