Overkill are among those almost unsung heroes in the thrash World, people with lesser knowledge of thrash seem to know only of the big four, and while they are good and right to do so, its the bands like Overkill that have continued to deliver the goods and push the roots or thrash further time and time again. They have been around since the dawn of it, each and every release has been of the highest standards, to the point they are almost as reliable as the sun coming up every morning. Matching those standards with an as explosive, rapturous live performance, and you’ll find yourself the exact reasons as to why they have such a dedicated following, and the drive to keep going after 3 decades of headbanging.
The Grinding Wheel is a monster, previous albums have all shared a toughened assault of the senses, these takes that element, but adds plenty of flair and nuances to almost bring a refreshed sound to the album. The musicality brings an almost renewed life to the band, you could be forgiven for thinking you are back in time and listening to a new band of youngsters with a lust everything fast and aggressive.
There are very few points in this album to grab a quick breath before the breakneck speed carries you on, what small, slower parts there are, usually bring some awesome groove driven riffs into play, and they make it work perfectly. The lead assaults are more impressive than ever, odd licks reminding me of classic British bands like Iron Maiden, deliberate or not, it isn’t a bad thing at all with that little bit of flavouring to polish off the finest of meals. The machine gun blasts of Ron Lipnicki proves what a machine he is behind the kit, completely relentless, and that is beautifully complemented by possibly the greatest bass work you can hear on any thrash record from DD Verni.
The only questionable thing for some would be the vocals of Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth. His particularly unique style could be marmite for some, you either love it or hate it, but it works wonders for me. The man has an amazing gift, and the album wouldn’t be the same without it, Overkill have been around and gathered a huge (and rightly so) following, and they are going to eat this up, so for those put off by the flamboyant styling of singing from Blitz really aren’t going to matter.
It’s hard to even put your finger on a favourite, the album is a nuke of a release and you won’t be finding a better thrash release this year. It is awesome to have such an old school band try some new tricks, and really show the newer bands over the year how it’s done. Nothing is held back, from the writing, the energy, they playing, all the way to the production of the album (Andy Sneap take a bow). The Grinding Wheel is really above and beyond expectation.