The insecurity felt among Overkill fans by the departure of founding guitarist and key songwriter Bobby Gustafson in 1990 ultimately proved unfounded when the New York thrashers' expanded two-guitar lineup -- featuring Rob Cannavino and Merritt Gant -- arguably delivered the finest effort of the group's career in 1991's Horrorscope. Up until the preceding, also excellent Years of Decay album, Overkill had suffered from a somewhat narrow, one-dimensional style and often comical lyrics fit for naught but numbskull moshing, directly at odds and therefore easily overshadowed by the exceedingly cerebral East Coast thrash of Anthrax and Nuclear Assault. Hence the understandable concerns that the band might in fact regress following Gustafson's departure -- and then the collective sigh of relief that welcomed Horrorscope's astonishingly mature and expanded sonic palette, which was sharpened to a razor's edge by fast-rising heavy metal producer Terry Date. Indeed, short of Bobby "Blitz" Ellsworth's signature shrieks to lend them a familiar coarseness, impressive new offerings like the album's eye-opening melodic launch pad "Coma" and the incredibly violent and infectious "Blood for Money" virtually sparkled with clean but powerful instrumental separation that showcased the quintet's instrumental prowess like never before. Even the supremely sardonic "Thanx for Nothin'" and a head-scratching cover of Edgar Winter's instrumental "Frankenstein" clearly meant business, and when Ellsworth proceeded to really sing on the at times ballad-like closing statement, "Soulitude," well, the old prejudices and preconceptions cast at Overkill over the years were decisively invalidated. Sadly, the New Yorkers' triumph would go partly unheard due to grunge's deafening cultural belch, and ensuing albums honestly didn't live up to Horrorscope's standards, leaving it as the creative peak and career benchmark against which all Overkill records are measured still today.
AllMusic Review by Eduardo Rivadavia