Overkill - The Grinding Wheel review



Reviewer:
8.3

173 users:
7.90
Band: Overkill
Album: The Grinding Wheel
Release date: February 2017


01. Mean Green Killing Machine
02. Goddamn Trouble
03. Our Finest Hour
04. Shine On
05. The Long Road
06. Let's All Go To Hades
07. Come Heavy
08. Red White And Blue
09. The Wheel
10. The Grinding Wheel
11. Emerald [Limited edition digipack bonus]


Overkill is back! In fact this is the 18th album in a career that is now nearing four decades, meaning that this band has been around for more years than most of the people reading this review have been walking on this planet. The New Jersey thrashers made an impressive comeback in 2010 with Ironbound and since then they have sworn to leave us speechless every time they put out something new. The band is clearly going through its second prime and The Grinding Wheel is here to prove it.

The first thing I noticed when I got my hands on the new album was the track times. Half of the songs go over the six-minute mark, which immediately made me think that this was going to be another Hardwired… bloating experience with aimlessly plodding songs. Luckily, this is far from the case here. The album just flies, being a riff fest of high standards and offering the familiar badass thrashing madness that we know and love from Overkill. What is different is that they tried to make the songs a little more progressive, but without adding any unnecessary extras like silly interludes, never-ending intros and boring fillers (something that many bands do nowadays, in order to stretch song times and thus be classed under the "progressive" category). In The Grinding Wheel there is more space for the music to evolve, which is uncommon for this genre and it is also rare for a thrash act to succeed in such a venture. But this band triumphs, without compromising its "no bullshit" attitude in the slightest.

Performance-wise, it's impossible not to notice the unstoppable, pummeling drums of Ron Lipnicki, whose departure shortly after the album's release leaves his replacement, Jason Bittner, with big shoes to fill. The guitar duo of Linsk and Tailer produces riffs and solos to satisfy every headbanger and D.D. Verni's dirty basslines are immediately recognisable; if Overkill were a group of people ready for a bar brawl, D.D. Verni's bass would be the tough guy standing in front of everyone to scare the opposition away. To round off the musicians' efforts, Bobby's vocal delivery in this album is simply awesome. Despite the too-ridiculous-for-words choice of sporting a moustache that makes him look like something between Fu Manchu and a Mexican drug dealer, this man's voice gets better with time. He sounds as pissed-off, furious and driven as ever and Overkill's strong point is most other thrash bands' weakness: the vocals. Last but not least, Andy Sneap's mix is near perfect, with each instrument getting the volume and sound it deserves and the whole album comes across as dynamic as it should.

There is essentially nothing subpar in The Grinding Wheel, but of course some tracks are better than others. "Our Finest Hour" is exactly what the title suggests, having one of the best choruses the band has ever crafted and playing on repeat while this review is being written. "The Long Road" with its fantastic introductory solo and the Black Sabbath influenced "Come Heavy" are also high on my list as is the punk-fused "Let's All Go To Hades" and the epic title track that closes the album. Bear in mind that there is also a limited edition bonus cover of Thin Lizzy's classic "Emerald" and a Japanese bonus cover of one of Iron Maiden's best songs, "Sanctuary". Both of them are enjoyable and if you can get your hands on these editions, they are worth buying.

As a final note, I'm going to be blasphemous and say that the quality of Overkill's output in the current decade is very close to, if not on par with, the stuff they released in the 1980s. With the thrash revivalist movement being quite strong at the moment, it is really spectacular and unexpected to see Overkill blowing not only most of their contemporaries (Big Four, etc.) to smithereens, but also almost every single modern band of this genre. Expect your neck muscles to suffer.


Rating breakdown
Performance: 9
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 7
Production: 9


 



Written on 19.06.2017 by I was into this music when you were still in diapers.


Comments

Comments: 10   [ 1 ignored ]   Visited by: 177 users
19.06.2017 - 09:12
Daniell
_爱情_
Quote:
it's impossible not to notice the unstoppable, pummeling drums of Ron Lipnicki, whose departure shortly after the album's release leaves his replacement, Jason Bittner, with big shoes to fill.

If you remember Bittner's drumming on the latest Flotsam and Jetsam album, you will know that he will have absolutely no problem with filling those shoes.
----
Now loving:
Hour of Penance - Cast the First Stone
Hate - Indestructible Pillar
Cradle of Filth - Heartbreak and Seance
Dark Tranquillity - Nothing To No One
Immolation - Swarm of Terror
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19.06.2017 - 11:44
nikarg
Old Nick
Written by Daniell on 19.06.2017 at 09:12

Quote:
it's impossible not to notice the unstoppable, pummeling drums of Ron Lipnicki, whose departure shortly after the album's release leaves his replacement, Jason Bittner, with big shoes to fill.

If you remember Bittner's drumming on the latest Flotsam and Jetsam album, you will know that he will have absolutely no problem with filling those shoes.

He is a good replacement for sure, whether or not he will fill those shoes remains to be seen. I certainly hope you are right
----
on and on south of heaven

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19.06.2017 - 13:39
Daniell
_爱情_
I think this album is a bit worse than "Ironbound" or "Electric Age", but on a par with "White Devil Armory".
It's not a blasphemy to compare Overkill's recent output to their 80's albums. I still think that "Horrorscope", "The Years of Decay", "Feel the Fire" and "Taking Over" are their best, but Ironbound" and "Electric Age" are very very close in quality.
----
Now loving:
Hour of Penance - Cast the First Stone
Hate - Indestructible Pillar
Cradle of Filth - Heartbreak and Seance
Dark Tranquillity - Nothing To No One
Immolation - Swarm of Terror
Loading...
19.06.2017 - 16:12
nikarg
Old Nick
Written by Daniell on 19.06.2017 at 13:39

I think this album is a bit worse than "Ironbound" or "Electric Age", but on a par with "White Devil Armory".
It's not a blasphemy to compare Overkill's recent output to their 80's albums. I still think that "Horrorscope", "The Years of Decay", "Feel the Fire" and "Taking Over" are their best, but Ironbound" and "Electric Age" are very very close in quality.

I haven't made up my mind yet, but I kind of enjoy The Grinding Wheel slightly more than the three albums before it. Ironbound was great, but I think it might have been a tad overrated because it was a massive and unexpected return after many years of not so impressive releases.
----
on and on south of heaven

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21.06.2017 - 01:30
FelixtheMetalcat
Simply put, best album since Ironbound!
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23.06.2017 - 09:20
Daniell
_爱情_
Written by Guest on 23.06.2017 at 00:36

Like every overkill's album : it's good

"I Hear Black" disagrees.
----
Now loving:
Hour of Penance - Cast the First Stone
Hate - Indestructible Pillar
Cradle of Filth - Heartbreak and Seance
Dark Tranquillity - Nothing To No One
Immolation - Swarm of Terror
Loading...
29.06.2017 - 01:24
jupitreas
hi-fi / lo-life
"The Killing Kind" is underrated, a really good album IMO, from the band's lackluster period.
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29.06.2017 - 13:27
nikarg
Old Nick
Written by Daniell on 23.06.2017 at 09:20

Written by Guest on 23.06.2017 at 00:36

Like every overkill's album : it's good

"I Hear Black" disagrees.

It's definitely not a masterpiece, but I dig the Sabbath feel of it and it's probably the only album along with WFO that I am happy to listen to from the years after Horrorscope up to Ironbound.
----
on and on south of heaven

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29.06.2017 - 13:34
nikarg
Old Nick
Written by jupitreas on 29.06.2017 at 01:24

"The Killing Kind" is underrated, a really good album IMO, from the band's lackluster period.

The "yea" bit in the song "Battle" totally pisses me off and the groove element in the album is very annoying for me. I don't even like the vocals in it and I generally worship Bobby. I don't think I have listened to the whole thing more than twice. I gave it another try on YouTube after your comment and it is probably going to be the last
----
on and on south of heaven

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05.07.2017 - 15:22
berba_
After couple of months i've forgot about this album.
For me it's quite good, but nothing to remember for sure.
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