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Overkill: 'The Grinding Wheel'
Released: 10th February 2017 (Nuclear Blast Records)

3rd February 2017

jeff kunze
Jeff Kunze


Overkill have been a mean green thrash machine for over three decades and maneuvering through changing business climates and musical landscapes has given the band an extensive catalog. 'The Grinding Wheel' is album number eighteen and it affirms once again that Overkill have never had an identity crisis. Ten tracks of vintage thrash that sticks to the traditional Overkill stamp.

A pulsating drumbeat counts down the launch of the sonic gem 'Mean Green Killing Machine' and the song takes a few turns through its seven-minute journey. There are moments of melody, heavy grooving, and ripping guitar solos that pave a path for this colossal musical monster. Overkill have always been able to nail down the perfect opening track and this fills the bill. 'Goddamn Trouble' features that classic Blitz approach through the verses; spitting venomous lyrics with an uncompromising attitude fitting perfectly over the music.

The first single was also the first song written, 'Our Finest Hour', and it's is a song that really defines Overkill. Their best attribute is balancing out intensity with melodic arrangements. It's fast, hooky and energetic.

'Shine On' offers a crushing main riff along with an unexpected softer interlude and a harmonized guitar section lifts the song back to its feet before being swept into the songs closing fury.

A grandiose opening of 'The Long Road' lets the guitars trade off licks before launching into the first verse. That intro pulls from that NWOBHM vibe before being swept into a thrash-induced burner while a shift in gears comes with 'Let's All Go To Hades' which is a fun song that crosses pop punk with thrash and gives the album another unique caveat of sound.

One of the top is 'Come heavy', a tuned down sludgy song pulling from the school of Black Sabbath which reminds of 1993s 'Spiritual Void'. The dirty guitar delivers a massive heavy groove that carries this mid-tempo beast while 'Red White And Blue' is a straightforward song fringing on old school hardcore which races at breakneck speed until it breaks into an infectious mosh inducing mid-section to further pull you in. This belongs in the live set-list every night.

'The Wheel' is soaked in energy as it matches the intensity of the riffs with memorable vocal melodies and twists and turns through various arrangements that play off each other perfectly. The title track closes out the record in epic form and it's a punishing track that marches along with a heavy slumber. The dynamics shift with an explosion of acceleration that catapults the tempo to a frantic pace before succumbing to morbid doom and gloom outro. It's a spectacular closer and in many ways encompasses the album over its nearly eight minute ride.

The title track, 'The Grinding Wheel', really pays homage to a band that has been able to grind it out through any obstacle that has stood in its way. Through good times and bad they have stood steadfast on the musical platform they helped mold but at the end of the day it really doesn't matter what influence they pull from or what particular variables are thrown into a song, because Overkill will always be Overkill.

The brilliance of this record is found in its diversity and the willingness to reach deep into the band's bag of tricks to pull out a golden rabbit. Take the time to dig into this album and discover the full arsenal of Overkill.

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Bobby 'Blitz' Ellsworth –Vocals
DD Verni – Bass, Back Vocals
Dave Linsk – Lead Guitar, Backing Vocals
Derek Tailer – Rhythm Guitar, Backing Vocals
Ron Lipnicki - Drums

Catch Overkill on the road as they begin a US run. Here are the dates:

14th February: Philadelphia, PA – Trocadero Theatre
15th February: Cleveland, OH – Agora Ballroom
16th February: Columbus, OH – Park Street Saloon
17th February: Chicago, IL – Concorde Music Hall
18th February: Minneapolis, MN – The Cabooze
19th February: Lawrence, KS – Granada
20th February: Englewood, CO – Gothic Theater
22nd February: Seattle, WA – El Corazon
23rd February: Portland, OR – Hawthorne Theater
24th February: San Francisco, CA – Slim's
25th February: Anaheim, CA – City National Grove
26th February: Tempe, AZ – Club Red
27th February: Albuquerque, NM – Sunshine Theater
28th February: Dallas, TX – Trees
1st March: Houston, TX – Scout Bar
2nd March: San Antonio, TX – Alamo City Music Hall
3rd March: New Orleans, LA – Southport Music Hall
4th March: Ybor City, FL – The Ritz Ybor
5th March: Atlanta, GA – Variety Playhouse
6th March: Charlotte, NC – The Fillmore
7th March: Norfolk, VA – The NorVa
8th March: Washington, DC – Howard Theatre
9th March: Clifton Park, NY – Upstate Concert Hall
10th March: Worcester, MA – Palladium (NILE ONLY)
11th March: Sayerville, NJ – Starland Ballroom


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