One of the original thrash legends, New York’s Overkill were as influential and relevant as any other thrash band. Their mixture of metal and hardcore was unrivaled in the early ’80s. Never once have they given up the ghost of metal and still continues to fly the flag taller and higher than any other outfit.
The Grinding Wheel is remarkably their 18th full length release. Despite the ups and down of the metal community, Overkill have never shied away from showing their true colors. They found a gigantic rebirth with 2010’s incredible Ironbound and their latest is another notch in their collective belt of excellence.
The current lineup has now been together for over a decade with vocalist Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth and bassist D.D. Verni being original members. Blitz’s vocals are incredibly identifiable with his chewed on glass melodic melodies, while Verni is still the primary songwriter in the band.
Opening with a fantastic 1-2-3 punch to start the proceedings, they are on fire out of the gate. “Mean Green Killing Machine” is a metal beast and clocks in over seven minutes. It features groove riffs with a classic thrash feel drummer Ron Lipnicki makes his presence known from the onset.
“Goddamn Trouble” and “Our Finest Hour” capture Overkill at their finest. Blending thrash with punk in the pummeling way that they do, both move at blazing speeds and are built to get your heart racing. Choruses are insanely catchy and are built for one to howl along to.
“Come Heavy” screams Black Sabbath and has a “Hole In The Sky” feel from the classic Sabotage, before transitioning to a groove laden monster. Iron Maiden’s influence is felt on the memorable “The Long Road.” Great lead playing from Dave Linsk is sprinkled throughout.
The title track ends the festivities in glorious fashion. Harking back to their Horrorscope album, the track begins with a slower tempo before exploding in full on thrash mode. Another fantastic Blitz chorus finds him hitting some higher notes in his range again.
Like most releases today, the record clocks in at over an hour and it is just too long. Most tracks clock in over five minutes and half the tracks are in the six and seven range. A heavy dose of editing would have done wonders for the final product.
The mix is handled by the much in demand Andy Sneap and as usual he captures the guitars brilliantly and they are some of the best sounding of their career. At this stage, Overkill know who they are and are not trying to reinvent the wheel. The Grinding Wheel continues the path they reestablished with their previous few releases and will leave all thrash fans wanting more.
(released February 10th, 2017 on Nuclear Blast Records)
Listen To Overkill – “Mean, Green Killing Machine”