Friends, thrashers, metalheads, lend me your ears! OverKill, the most consistent metal band on the entire planet, is back with their 18th (yes, I said 18th ) full-length album, The Grinding Wheel. If you are new to metal and/or are unfamiliar with OverKill, and somehow you have made your way to this review, then stop! Take yourself right now to your local record store (or realistically, your favorite online ordering site) and buy this album and everything else with the OverKill logo on it. If you’re an OverKill stalwart, such as myself, then you are simply reading for fun/entertainment. If you’re a ‘Kill doubter or detractor, then in the words of the band itself, “We don’t care what you say. Fuck you!”
Seriously, what can really be said about OverKill that hasn’t already been said before, or isn’t plain common knowledge to a devout metal fan. Having been around for 35 years, with their debut full-length rearing its head in 1985, the band continues releasing albums with only a three year gap being the longest interval between any of their full-lengths. If that alone doesn’t qualify OverKill for being THE most consistent, hardest working band in metal music today, then “We don’t care what you say….” uh, you know the rest. The Grinding Wheel itself continues the path of (non)progression that the band is known for. Tracks are of typical ‘Kill length, falling into a 4 to 8-ish minute formula of thrash-tastic, sometimes bluesy, upbeat, anthemic, and epic beatdowns, with the album clocking in at a hour, the bands longest to date.
To plagiarize myself from an OverKill review I wrote for The Electric Age; “the more things change, the more OverKill stays the same.” The founding duo of vocalist, Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth and bassist, D.D. Verni, amaze at how they are able to keep ripping out albums of thrash metal greatness through many different incarnations of the band. Of course they are, and always have been the songwriting core. Stylistically, there isn’t much to truly elaborate on when it comes to the tracks on The Grinding Wheel. If you have ever banged your head to an OverKill song before, then you know what to expect. Having said that, The Grinding Wheel does seem to have a little bit of everything from past ‘Kill albums, achieving not only a classic vibe, but to these ears, a vibe/songwriting feel/mentality that recalls the hugely underrated mid to late ’90’s era of W.F.O., The Killing Kind, From the Underground and Below, and Necroshine.
Fat grooves of thrash excellence rule every track, while Dave Linsk proves, yet again, to be the band’s best lead/solo player ever. The man simply rips and tears. Honestly, the line up OverKill has here, and has had for a bit now, is probably the best ‘Kill incarnation yet. Rhythm guitarist, Derek Tailer is more than adequate at being a top notch riff killer and frankly, drummer, Ron Lipnicki is a fucking beast; while Blitz and Verni both give performances full of exuberance and vitality. From the first track to the last, every song on The Grinding Wheel is a winner. Though the guys probably could have cut “God Damned Trouble” and still maintained the same listening impact that the album achieves, but ultimately, no harm, no foul.
To sum it all up, if you are an OverKill fan, new or old, then The Grinding Wheel is a hands down winner. If you’re just a half-assed thrash listener, then give it a go; you definitely are getting a quality product that you are sure to find something you will like about it. Though if you’ve never liked OverKill, or even thrash metal for that matter; well, as the ‘Kill would say, “We dont care what you say. …. …”[Visit the band's website]