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The Most Underrated Band In Metal History

Written by: AndMetalForAll
Published: April 07, 2012

After listening to Overkill's latest album The Electric Age, I was astonished with the form of a band that has existed for over thirty years. The newest release of the New Jersey natives puts the band, in my opinion, at the biggest peak of their career. But at the end of the day one thing is clear: although they have been releasing thrash-metal masterpieces, Overkill hasn't been recognized for their talent and creativity since their formation. In my view they are definitely the most underrated band in metal history, while other bands with less than half of Overkill's talent and less quality in their discography receive much more attention and recognition. Throughout the years they have been outsiders; when the discussion of the biggest bands in metal history comes up in conversation, it seems fans usually forget Overkill and fail to recognize their quality and contribution to the music industry.

The band was formed in 1980 in New Jersey and led by Bobby "Blitz" Ellsworth and bassist D.D. Verni. To date, Overkill has released sixteen studio albums, two EPs, two live albums, and a "covers" album. Since their formation they navigated through different styles, between thrash metal, speed metal, heavy metal and groove metal (in my opinion one of the pioneers of alternative/nu metal). The 90's were, in my opinion, the worst of the band. Every band goes through different styles in their career, some more alternative oriented; usually that is a great help to the bands in order not to get tired of making music and they experience other things so that in future years they release better things. That transition was good for them, the 90's were a good experience, and in the later years they have been releasing, like I mentioned above, very good albums, very close to being metal masterpieces.

For example legendary bands such as Metallica, Anthrax, Slayer, Megadeth - The Big 4 - all of them have to make a really good effort to make good music. Metallica hasn't released anything good for over 20 years; Slayer released a "crappy" last album; Megadeth is of the four bands "the least worst", although releasing good albums in the last eight years, nothing compared to their real status as one of the best thrash metal bands of all time; Anthrax, to be realistic, hasn't released anything very good since the beginning of the 90's. Overkill is quite the contrary, they are the example of an extraordinary band of thrash metal and throughout the years renewed their style over and over again, but always with great quality. They don't need to rehash old hits in order to be a successful band; they have the ability to make amazing albums and renewing their music.

They seem like Port wine: the older the better!!

They are faster, heavier, technically more skilled, and more inspired than ever. The last two albums are an example of that. Ironbound and The Electric Age are the two perfect examples of how a band with their age can still perform at such high level.

"[Overkill] is a snapshot of one of the few old-school thrash bands that has actually gotten better with time rather than collapsing under the weight of their own success/excess, giving the listener a look at one of the original heavy hitters of metal who are still at the top of their game and only getting heavier."

(AllMusic about Ironbound)

"Not very many bands make it for 30 years, and even fewer are at the top of their game after that length of time. Overkill is one of those bands, and Ironbound is one of their best efforts since the early '90s."

( about Ironbound)

"Overkill's The Electric Age is a scorching thrashterpiece that will enhance the band's legendary status even further, and will ensure the successful continuity of the band's quest to infect the whole planet with headbanger whiplash."

(Metal Assault about The Electric Age)

"As if some kind of beast possessed that turns its mouth of razor sharp teeth on its victim in glee, Overkill clamps their musical brutality down onto the heavy listener? and there is no letting up. This album is clearly a defining moment in the history of one of the most underrated American metal acts ever."

(The Metal Den about The Electric Age)

Personally, the last two albums are hellacious, completely off the chart. It seems that everyone agrees with these statements, but, "the system" doesn't allow it, greatness seems to be destined for the Big 4; despite of the bad albums released by the four bands, it looks like they will always be considered the best. Overkill is an outsider and always will be. Their live shows are completely crazy; true thrash metal all the way!! Even now they perform at an amazing level, since 1980. They give the fans their money's worth. But still they play on secondary stages; when will the organizers of shows, producers, editors, and fans realize that this band has the ability to be leaders? These guys have the quality and experience to be leaders at a time when crappy metal is in its prime with pseudo-bands. It's thanks to Overkill that thrash metal didn't die!! Of course other great bands helped this cause, bands such as Machine Head, Exodus, and Accept among others. These bands also deserve more recognition for their work to the metal industry?

All in all, it's completely unfair that Overkill is on the 2nd tier of the metal industry. I hope people pay more attention to this amazing band, and with articles like this, fans can listen carefully to the quality of an extraordinary band that endures for over thirty years. Overkill is in this industry to stay, and fortunately, are here for another ten or twenty years. If in twenty years they still can perform at such a high level I'll be here to call attention to the history of this legendary band!

Guest article disclaimer:
This is a guest article, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.

Comments page 2 / 2

Comments: 33   Visited by: 237 users
19.11.2012 - 17:47
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 18.04.2012 at 13:15

How the hell anyone can claim, with a straight face, that Overkill is the most unerrated band in metal is totally beyond me.

I totally agree. They are the seventh best selling thrash band ever (at least according to wikipedia), everybody knows them and many people loves them. An underrated band is a band that most people don't even know, or perhaps overlooked is a better word for that. The most underrated/overlooked metal bands in my opinion are Sorcery and Legend, both great 70's band. Sorcery, who is often described as a proto-doom band, and Legend, who released a unique album in 1979 that almost could be described as prog metal, although it doesn't sound like the prog metal of today.
08.01.2013 - 17:54
Just check the track "Elimination" of Overkill's performance here in Vagos, Portugal. It was an amazing show and of course I had to see it live, superb show and band performance as always. It was the only song available in the Internet with decent sound and video quality.

10.01.2013 - 13:27
Valentin B
I don't think there is a "most underrated band" in metal, and if there is such a thing that band is certainly not Overkill. They are good I agree, are a huge influence and at this moment they are the best of the 80s thrash bands that still release music, however they DO receive a lot of recognition and make a lot of money with their music.

Aside from their enormous popularity in the Americas and especially the USA of course, they tour Europe almost every year and have an insured spot on a ton of great festivals, and have played Wacken 6 times already (to give you an idea, the only bands that have played at more editions of Wacken are In Flames and Motorhead). Regardless of quality, how in the hell is a band like that underrated?

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