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Overkill – The Grinding Wheel

Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Format: CD download
Released: 2017
Reviewed By: Rich Catino
Rating: 9/ 10

You know what…the big four may be Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth, and Anthrax, but as Mr. Ellsworth recently said “its an accounting issue”. Why?, because throughout their history Overkill prove they are as musically talented, and have crafted quality thrash as good (if not better at times) than their peers. ‘Mean, Green, Killing Machine’ is a statement in itself and lives up to its title, classic 80s Overkill that expertly crushes with catchy riffing, switching grooves, melody, purposeful leads, and perfectly placed screams. ‘Goddam Trouble’ plays with the bands punk influences in bounce and attitude, while single ‘Our Finest Hour’ opens with a riff that’s reminisce of “Under The Influence” album, the chorus has that ‘Elimination’ delivery. But, at almost six minutes includes a few twists and turns in the verses is how they evolved and grew with tempo and riff changes for albums like “Ironbound” and “White Devil Armory”.
‘Shine On’ could have fit on an album like “From the Underground and Below” or “Necroshine”, combining the rhythmic grooves with thrashy changes. I enjoy the epic feel to “The Long Road” (6:45), the “whooaa”’s. The composition builds and morphs with Dave Linsk going in head first with lead work, finally hitting its stride with this “Years Of Decay”/”Horrorscope” type melody and just this straight crunch and punch. So, half way through the album, already these songs on “Grinding Wheel” don’t have the same feel or riffing like the previous three albums. “Grinding Wheel” has a more old school Overkill sound and layout to these songs.


‘Lets All Go To Hades’ is another that builds momentum before that riff hits the head like a hammer - mid-tempo thrash, heavy and catchy. ‘Come Heavy’ totally revisits “I Hear Black” album. ‘Red White and Blue’ flatline delivery may be the only song I’d say is ok compared to ‘The Wheel’ which lands better. An almost eight minute title track at first focuses on a slower pace, switching “gears” to speed prior to (Iron) Maiden/Steve Harris/ ‘Rime of the Ancient Mariner’ worship (that bass), adding more “whoas” in the chorus. This should have been ‘Overkill V’ instead of the misfired one on “Immortalis”.
Of course like any band, some Overkill albums are better and more consistent than others, but, over the course of 18 albums have yet to be nothing other than themselves. Given their style and genre, Overkill very rarely ever feel like they have repeated themselves, and always find ways to creatively reinvent and improve on their grinding wheel.

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