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Verni - Barricade

by Chris Hawkins at 19 November 2018, 3:36 PM

A long-time stalwart of east coast Thrash, D. D. Verni has had a storied career with his main band, OVERKILL and side project, BRONX CASKET COMPANY.  Creativity is something that must be exorcised from within and is certainly not limited to two musical projects.  The ten tracks contained within this album represent a side of Verni’s not reflected in his other projects.  What quickly becomes apparent listening to this is the quality of the song writing for it is a top shelf representation of Verni’s love of Rock, Metal, and Punk.  The album is comprised of Verni on guitar, bass, and vocals and former OVERKILL member Ron Lipnicki on drums.  Throughout, though, there are a number of guest guitarists lending their talents for solos.

Fire Up” has the key delivery for an ideal opening track:  loud, raw, and furious.  One immediately is witness to the winning formula for this album which is an aggressive blend of abrasive Metal with the melodic catchiness of Punk.  With Chris “Zeuss” Harris producing, the sound is tweaked perfectly for ultimate fidelity and delivery as he has done with QUEENSRYCHE, HATEBREED, and others.  The following track, “Miracle Drug,” continues with the mood of its predecessor and offers a very New Jersey-sounding approach.  One can hear MISFITS’ influence in the melodic structure and heavy sound presented.  An adventurous solo from ANNIHILATOR’s Jeff Waters helps make this a solid, stand out track.

Off My Leash,” the third track, has a solid, raunchy swagger centered around a riff that sounds like a hybrid of the minds of Zakk Wylde and Dimebag Darrell.  The vocals have a unique character that at times reminded me of Mike Muir from SUICIDAL TENDENCIESBruce Franklin from TROUBLE offers a killer solo to solidify the song.  The sixth track, “The Party of No,” is certainly one of the strongest tracks of the album.  The music is high energy and sounds like it would be a blast to play.  Guitar extraordinaire Jeff Loomis provides a solo that truly smokes illustrating why he tops many fans’ lists of favorite guitarists.  “Heaven Calling” is the perfect way to wrap up the album.  The melodic structure is laid out innocently at first then the Metal is unleashed to give the verse section a catchy groove.  Some of the chord progressions touched up are reminiscent of Classic Rock.  Indeed, at times there is almost a BEATLES type of vibe in the way ideas are arranged and resolved.  This is one of those songs that lodges itself in one’s mind for a long time to come.

As a bass player, I’ve always enjoyed listening to Verni’s work over the years with OVERKILL.  In fact, he has always been my favorite element of that band with a signature sound revisited here that fills out the low end with a dirty rumble that is still precise and articulate.  It turns out that he is a more than competent guitar player as evidenced here.  Armed with a modern high gain sound, the riffs forming the songs represent an appreciation for all things heavy.

While this may not be album of the year, it is nonetheless refreshing.  It is rewarding to hear other sides of one of the masters of our beloved genre.  It may be a bit of a stretch to classify this as commercial, but it does sound digestible for mass media consumption.  At the least, congratulations are in order for Verni for getting the music in his head out there.  For an artist, that is often a lifelong goal.

Songwriting: 7
Originality: 6
Memorability: 6
Production: 8

3 Star Rating

1. Fire Up
2. Miracle Drug
3. Off My Leash
4. (We Are) The Broken Ones
5. Lost in the Underground
6. The Party of No
7. Night of the Swamp King
8. We Were Young
9. Slow My Ride
10. Heaven Calling
D. D. Verni- Vocals, Guitar, Bass
Ron Lipnicki–Drums
Record Label: Mighty Music


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Edited 26 November 2022

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