Game Over are another Italian thrash outfit, sticking to a style similar to that of National Suicide, but less direct and a bit more involved. I’ve always considered them to be like Dr. Living Dead lite, as they took on the horror gimmick and went through similar sound changes. In fact, both bands’ most recent outputs have honed in on that a little less, and gravitated towards maturity. Claiming Supremacy is Game Over’s fourth full-length effort, and it’s without a doubt that this is where the writing maturity that began on Crimes Against Reality (my personal favorite by them) comes full circle. I’ll admit from the start that it does go a little bit too hard with this plan of attack, but it still made for a worthwhile product.
It goes almost without saying that with more mature themes and writing, there are going to be some progressive garnishes thrown into the dish. Before diving too hard into this, though, they don’t fully abandon their horror roots. To my surprise, the track “Eleven” is actually about the Stranger Things character, which I found to be magnificent. Neatly enough, it was still written with concise precision and made for a beautiful track. Corruption and realistic issues take the wheel for most of this, though. With that, we get the complete kit of weird tempos, time signature shifts, changes in tone, and the works. Take “Blessed Are The Heretics,” one of the longer endeavors on this beast. It goes from an aggressive start, to a calm eye of the storm in the middle, and then breaks into one of the most ripping solos on the album. Cleaner production and easier on the ear distortions are also used, which helps dress this up the way the band was clearly intending.
On a less positive note, the tracks themselves are far less hooky than the previous album, and it took about three spins for Claiming Supremacy to grow on me. Just because the vocals are a bit cleaner and easier on the ear doesn’t always mean they’re more interesting. The last album had the perfect balance between hooks and technicality, where here it’s a bit unbalanced. “Last Before The End” has a music video to it, but I found it to be one of the less inspiring tracks due to it going a bit too hard. Don’t let this turn you away, though. Most of the album doesn’t take much of a hit from this, and it’s still easy to appreciate the effort that went into it. Vocals will still chime in with a raspier delivery mixed with the cleaner singing. Acoustic guitars find their way into the tracks, and are firmly layered with the electric guitars in a stellar manner. The previously mentioned “Eleven” knows how to balance the clean atmosphere, the distortions, the multiple vocal works, and utilize a magnificent outro. If you’re a fan of Stranger Things, even if this isn’t your style, that song is worth your time.
An outstanding factor of this disc is the drummer’s insane ability to wreck the crowd with heaviness and thunderous precision. Overall, that gave the album a harder feel to it, especially on “Lysander,” one of the songs near the album’s end. Actually, the end of the album is where Game Over show their roots the most, and throw back to the earlier styles of their sound. What’s super nice is that this band doesn’t go stagnant in their output. If you prefer more raw and to the point thrash along the lines of Nuclear Assault or Slayer, look into their earlier albums. If you like a more touched up thrash like Justice era Metallica or Annihilator, this is the ticket. Either way, they’ve got a little bit for everyone who digs the style. Dr. Living Dead fans should seek this out no matter what the preference is. With the Halloween season on the horizon, it’s a great time to give these Italians a try.
Claiming Supremacy was released on November 17, 2017 on Scarlet Records, and can be purchased in vinyl, CD, and digital formats via their Bandcamp page.
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