Overkill – The Grinding Wheel [REVIEW]

When the words Thrash Metal are mentioned (especially from the older wave) fans have the tendency to think back to the time when it was great, when bands like Testament and Slayer were kings of the genre and when the scene had a sense of kick that sacrificed the control and creativity from the intense genre. Conversely the comparisons to newer fans might see a slowing up band that is mainly playing a genre that has become archaic and stale.

Within the case of Overkill they straddle this line perfectly giving the pure Sabbath worship on the intro to The Wheel and then kicking it back into the pace of newer bands like Havok on Goddamn Trouble. What can be seen most from this release is a great sense of variety, and shows that the band release it’s not the mid 80’s anymore, but they have gotten older in a much more graceful and controlled manner.

What is a huge characteristic of the sound of the band is Blitz’s harsh scream, and whilst this might seem a drawback for some (as it is not the cleanest vocal in metal), it’s very easy to identify the lyrics in the songs and to follow his interpretation. With tracks such as Red White Blue referencing “clowns” during American’s interesting period with the new leadership of Donald Trump might be seen as poking a sense of fun at the establishment and gives the song a whole new meaning. The clean singing on the end of Shine On also allows the vocalist to show what he can do within this type of role, and in truth Blitz pulls this off perfectly.

Going into the realms of creativity with a symphony to end the album on is a brave move from a band whose listeners will want them to “keep it heavy”. Within the context of what the group has set out to achieve however, it has made the record seem much more creativity than a typical Thrash release. With mixing and mastering credits to Andy Sneap his work recently in creating quite a theatrical sounding band in Hell might have carried over into the creation of the record and made for the band to start going into other avenues, the album has carried on the larger production quality of latter day Overkill records perfectly, and has made for great live moments to be inserted within the set.

Finally the band as a whole have brought through the great way Thrash has developed, particularly in the guitar interplay of Dave Linsk and Derek “The Skull” Tailer on the speedier tracks such as Goddamn Trouble. The work of both of these amazing musicians has added heaviness to Overkill’s music and has made it retain the quality of Thrash the band had on earlier releases. Ron Lipincki as a drummer does expert and precision drum fills throughout the context of the album and same with bassist D.D. Verni.

In essence the band have not done anything truly new, most of these elements have been done before throughout the scene, in a multitude of different ways. What the group have done however, is created something that sounds great for their fan base, and have made a set of songs that the group will continue to play within their live set and ones which hold up towards their great legacy.