Overkill are probably my most respected band, during the quiet years of music (ahhh the 90’s!), this band continued (as did some others I might add, I know!) to record great thrash albums, developing with each one. But one thing you will get with any Overkill album is consistently high standards, no low level crap, it’s all in your face. Admittedly, ‘White Devil Armory’ didn’t really figure with me as much as the former two that were a real vibrant force. But ‘The Grinding Wheel’ has more of that credible punk energy relating to thrash, with long standing members DD Verni thundering with his bass and the unique vocal of Bobby ‘Blitz’ ever present and providing a signature sound all to their own, simply grabbing their musical roots by the scruff of the neck and throwing them into the pit to be sorted out.
If you take their last 3 albums, a resurgence occurred, ‘The Grinding Wheel’ expands into more than pure speed and aggression. Melody is added in some parts, yes I kid you not (although how many remember ‘From the Underground and Below’ which also featured this). The pure metal riffs occur in ‘The Long Road’ and the anthems similar to older tracks like ‘Fuck You’ and ‘Old School’ are included on ‘Let’s All Go to Hades’; which touches on the recent loss of Lemmy and the terrorist attacks in Paris.
The opener ‘Mean Green Killing Machine’ is almost like a signature tune, its starts with thundering drums and bass, and then the speed of the guitars ignite the fuel. Then there’s a groovier section reminiscent of their 90’s material, then back to the front line of punk infused thrash. The attitude is balanced well, you’ll still be worshipping the green and black…
The tracks are quite long, all over 5 minutes, the closer and title track near 8 minutes, but not a single second is wasted. There’s no sound samples worth noting, it’s all Overkill and that’s all fans require. I don’t think this is an album that will split opinion too much, but I am sure the internet commandos will have a go somewhere, but I think this is a more in depth Overkill album as it includes all periods of the band and their heritage, both in attitude and style. As expected, the production is quite phenomenal, especially the chunky bass and blasting drums, something we’ve come to expect and gladly receive as another gift from these New Jersey legends.
(8.5/10 Paul Maddison)