Did you know, before there was Metallica, Megadeth, Anthrax, or Slayer, the so-called "big four," there was Overkill? Yup. That's right. Across the way from New York City in New Jersey, Overkill was formed in 1980. Overkill returns with their eighteenth (wow!) album, The Grinding Wheel, with the only two original members, singer Bobby "Blitz" Ellsworth and bassist D.D. Verni at the helm.
Now when I hear the words "thrash metal" I definitely think old school, and not the majority of new shit that attempts to pass for thrash. Most new thrash metal bands don't get that "true" thrash metal believed in the importance of melody, harmony, and groove, even while whipping us with riffage pummeling us with bullet train pacing. And for all that speed, tempos could still vary within a song. Twin guitar harmony is there also, with the blistering leads as well. And so this defines Overkill's thrash metal style. Call them old school purists, but once more they nail the genre.
As for the songs, traditional speed monsters come with tunes such as Our Finest Hour, The Wheel, Goddamn Trouble, and Red White and Blue. Those latter two songs are some examples of where Overkill will split the pacing, gearing down as it were in parts. Another song that dials back the tempo more evenly throughout is Let's All Go To Hades. With its slighter tempo and groove it reminds more of traditional heavy metal. But the real head scratcher is the title itself. Hades? Really? What true heavy metal band uses Hades? Shouldn't it have been Hell? Now that's metal. Alas, the real kick ass song of the bunch is Come Heavy, which draws deep from the aforementioned important elements of melody, harmony and, especially, groove. Essentially, it's a rolling thrash metal rocker. Definitely Overkill at their finest.
The bottom line is rather simple. If you like Overkill, and classic and traditional heavy, speed, and thrash metal, then The Grinding Wheel should be on your short list of music purchases this month. Recommended.
If you like Overkill, and classic and traditional heavy, speed, and thrash metal, then The Grinding Wheel should be on your short list music purchases. Recommended.
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