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OVERKILL The Grinding Wheel

By Alex Yarborough, Orlando Contributor
Monday, January 30, 2017 @ 12:59 AM


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OVERKILL
The Grinding Wheel

2016 eOne Music




“A call to arms, a call right through the dream. A call to action, blow up the in-between…”

OVERKILL is perhaps the most consistent and persistent band in thrash metal. The perpetual chip on their shoulder, and their blue-collar attitude have made them this way over the course of nearly four decades, 18 studio albums and non-stop tours. Accordingly, the name The Grinding Wheel is a reference to the working class, their fans. Travis Smith’s distinctive cover art also references this never-ending struggle, with locked gears, sparking and unturnable.

OVERKILL has a proletarian ethic that rarely sees a gap of more than two years between albums. Truth be told, OVERKILL has been on a roll for quite a while, previously releasing four incredible albums in a row, beginning with Ironbound in 2010. This is the band’s fifth album in a row with the same lineup of Blitz (vocals), DD Verni (bass), Dave Linsk (guitar), Derek Tailer (guitar) and Ron Lipnicki (drums).

The Grinding Wheel was originally scheduled to be released all the way back in October of last year, but the band made the decision to wait for Andy Sneap to finish mixing the album to his specifications. Sneap’s trademark polish is all over The Grinding Wheel. The band wanted a more organic drum sound and a more powerful guitar sound from Sneap. The band describes Sneap as the “x-factor” in this album. Previously, OVERKILL had been self-producing their own albums for years. Whether or not the band sounds better than they did on White Devil Armory (2014) is a matter of listener opinion. Personally, I liked the way the guitars were rawer and the drums were high in the mix on White Devil Armory. In my side-by-side comparison, I prefer the way White Devil Armory sounds more than The Grinding Wheel, but it’s not too much of a departure. The album does sound nice and heavy, and I think that once fans get a chance to really crank this album up really loud, they will appreciate the work that went into it.

Fans will also be happy with the thrash energy on this album, while also enjoying the diversity of the songs: more references to NWOBHM, punk, and classic rock. This band is driven by Blitz’s frenetic vocal delivery and energy. Yet no political songs can be found on the album; surprising, since Blitz has some strong political views and 2016 was the most divisive year for politics in American history. Nonetheless, OVERKILL’s middle finger remains in your face.

“Mean Green Killing Machine” is a nickname for the band. No other band in metal identifies with the color green more than OVERKILL, and they invite you to say their name in this kick-ass opening track. A lyric video for the song can be viewed right HERE. “Goddamn Trouble” is a swinging old school style track that is actually pretty funny. Verni’s trademark bass is high in the mix, and Blitz is all over the place with nearly incessant vocals driving the song home with “ain’t never gonna stop”.

“Our Finest Hour” is a solid track which features a nice hook in the chorus. The song was released as the first single from the album and the video can be viewed HERE. “Shine On”, which is full of some very enjoyable Derek Tailer riffs and multiple tempo changes, eventually became one of my favorite songs on the album.

“The Long Road” is an epic track addressing the band’s aforementioned blue collar work ethic and features a more complex arrangement than a typical OVERKILL song. It has a very NWOBHM feel to it. With its lengthy intro and Dave Linsk solo right from the beginning, the song feels like a centerpiece for the album.

“Let’s All Go To Hades” is a fun track that recalls thrash’s punk roots and has a little MOTÖRHEAD swing to it. The track is really brought to life by Blitz’s vocals. “Come Heavy” features diversity, some delicious groove and down-tuned BLACK SABBATH influence. It also sounds like it could have been influenced by the I Hear Black album, if that makes sense. It is another of my favorite tracks on the album, even though Blitz is quick to point out that the song actually doesn’t contain a chorus.

The punishing “Red White And Blue” features some hardcore influence. The track is fast-paced with tons of riffs and plenty of snarl from Blitz. “The Wheel” likens the singer as a spinning turbine and could be the most classic OVERKILL track on the album. It features some of the best riffs and a really cool chorus. Ron Lipnicki lays down some precision double bass drumming here as well. Closing track “The Grinding Wheel” is the longest song on the album. This mid-tempo track has an almost “soundtrack” quality to it.

The Grinding Wheel will add to the legacy of OVERKILL. It is an excellent addition to the band’s catalog and will be released in a variety of formats, including many different vinyl versions, standard CD version and a digipak version, which contains a bonus track cover of THIN LIZZY’s “Emerald”, a track the band has successfully covered live for years.

Be sure to catch OVERKILL’s tour with NILE, which will take place in February and March 2017.

4.6 Out Of 5.0

Grab your copy of The Grinding Wheel in the KNAC.COM More Store right HERE.


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