Overkill's live performances kick ass. But pick up a CD of theirs, and the recorded songs sound tinny or cheeesy.

With Immortalis, we get to hear all the definitive Overkill chunky guitar work, aggressive double-kick bass drums and clear and strong vocals. The sound is a return to the true thrash poundings of cohorts Exodus and even old-school Metallica, who couldn’t record an album this good now if their lives depended on it.

David Linsk’s assassinating guitar leads rip holes through what other “metal” bands are trying to produce these days. Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth’s vocals are precise and powerful.

Lamb of God’s Randy Blythe steps in to sing a duet o’ death on “Skull and Bones.” Normally, Blythe’s vocals are strained and painful to listen to, but they do provide a cool contrast to Blitz’s operatic style here.

“Devils in the Mist” and “Skull and Bones” stick out with melodic angst and terror-driving deliverance. “Hell Is” starts out with a haunting Black Sabbath-y feel but erupts into blazing insanity. “Overkill V” is the perfect finale to Immortalis, with its confident marching rhythm and ability to haunt you after the fact.

Overkill is back with a side of kick-yer-ass. Let’s welcome them with open devil horns!

Grade: A-

Immortalis is currently available.