OVERKILL Singer On 'Scorched' Album: 'It's Eclectic', 'Diverse' And 'It's Got Different Dynamics And Characteristics'
March 9, 2023
OVERKILL singer Bobby "Blitz" Ellsworth spoke to Canada's The Metal Voice about the band's upcoming twentieth studio album, "Scorched", which will be released on April 14 via Nuclear Blast Records. When interviewer Jimmy Kay suggested that the pandemic has been "good" to OVERKILL by giving the group a chance to focus on making a new LP without the distractions of being on the road, Bobby clarified (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "It hasn't been good to us. We took advantage of the opportunity of the luxury of time. I think that that would probably be the best way to put it. It's directly responsible, I think, for the results, especially my results on it. I think the other guys, they tweaked and pushed and pulled and pinched and added things over that three-year period. But for me, I tore that record down a few times, just to make sure that it was a metal record worthy of the luxury of time, as opposed to a hit-and-run kind of a thing."
Ellsworth also spoke about the overall sound of "Scorched" and OVERKILL's mindset going into the recording process. He said: "We used [producer] Colin Richardson again. This is his fourth project with us. He's a friend. We trust the guy. He did a record for us from soup to nuts called 'Killbox ' , and that is a heavy piece of real estate. I think it was just released in 2004 when the popularity of the genre was not way up there; it wasn't at its healthiest state. But that's one of the best-sounding fucking records we've ever done, and he's directly responsible for that. So when he did this mix, we didn't give him a lot of guidance. I mean, we did the production and kind of guided him along with regard to what our ideas were, but not generalization in sound. But I do remember saying to him — or D.D. [Verni, OVERKILL bassist] saying to him, rather; we agreed on this — we wanted a record that you could play really loud but it doesn't tire you out. Sometimes you get one of those records, you put on four tracks, you've got it on at nine, and you go, 'I've gotta take a break. I need a nap. It's heavy as fuck, but I need a nap.' And I think he did that. And the way he did it was that he used, for instance, some of the natural drum resonance from the room that he mixed in with whatever was digital. He did a throwback guitar back to the kind of early '90s. So it's like capturing two eras — it's like capturing something in the past and exactly the present, and listening to those two eras simultaneously."
Bobby also touched upon the musical direction of "Scorched", saying: "It's eclectic. It's diverse. It's got different dynamics and characteristics. How do you make that in an OVERKILL record? It's traditional heavy metal. It's got mellow sections. It's got groove. It's got thrash. It's got rock and roll. It's got blues. It's, like, all over the fucking map. But you have to sew those pieces together and then take the whole thing and try to make it — you know, put your brand on it. And I think that that's what we succeeded in doing. And what's directly responsible is the amount of time that we had."
"Scorched" offered a new recording environment for OVERKILL as all members were able to record on their own. The mixing of the record was handled by Richardson and his assistant engineer Chris Clancy. Johnny Rodd helped with producing vocals, and finally, Maor Appelbaum took over mastering and adding finishing touches. The band returned to artist Travis Smith to create the album cover art.
The official the visualizer for the LP's first single, "The Surgeon", can be seen below.
OVERKILL played another of the album's songs, "Wicked Place", live during its December 9, 2022 concert at the Ruhrpott Metal Meeting in Oberhausen, Germany. Fan-filmed video of that performance can be seen below.
Last August, Ellsworth told Neuborn Open Air Festival about the way he and his OVERKILL bandmates approached the making of "Scorched": "Well, I wrote the record three times — my end of the record, I wrote it three times — and I destroyed the first two of them, because it was being influenced by the pandemic, and I don't think we've ever been those type of people. I started listening and I said… I'm not the most upbeat person when it comes to the presentation of music, but I think that if you compare OVERKILL to other bands in this scene, we don't always take the negative road; we try to take the positive road for things. And the pandemic led me to go on a different path, and I didn't wanna do that. So I tore the whole record down and rewrote it once I saw that stuff was opening… But it made me feel more comfortable with the fact that, okay, this is fresh, it's current. It's not something that was written in 2020. It was written in fucking '22, and it's gonna be recorded in '22. So it's a good feeling right now."
Richardson previously worked with OVERKILL on 1997's "From The Underground And Below", 2000's "Bloodletting" and the aforementioned "Killbox 13".
OVERKILL spent most of 2019 and early 2020 touring in support of its 19th studio LP, "The Wings Of War", which was released four years ago.
"The Wings Of War" marked OVERKILL's recording debut with drummer Jason Bittner (SHADOWS FALL, FLOTSAM AND JETSAM),who joined the band in 2017.
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