The Grinding Wheel
OVERKILL

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OVERKILL - The Grinding Wheel cover
4.41 | 9 ratings | 4 reviews
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Album · 2017

Filed under Thrash Metal

Tracklist

1. Mean Green Killing Machine (7:29)
2. Goddamn Trouble (6:21)
3. Our Finest Hour (5:49)
4. Shine On (6:03)
5. The Long Road (6:45)
6. Let's All Go To Hades (4:55)
7. Come Heavy (4:59)
8. Red White And Blue (5:05)
9. The Wheel (4:51)
10. The Grinding Wheel (7:55)

Total time 60:12

Bonus track:
11. Emerald (Thin Lizzy Cover) (3:52)

Total time 64:04

Line-up/Musicians

- Bobby "Blitz" Ellsworth / lead vocals
- Dave Linsk / lead guitar
- Derek "The Skull" Tailer / rhythm guitar
- D. D. Verni / bass
- Ron Lipnicki / drums

About this release

Release date: February 10, 2017
Label: Nuclear Blast

Thanks to Unitron for the addition and diamondblack for the updates

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Nuclear Blast America 2017
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Overkill - The Grinding Wheel +1 [Japan CD] GQCS-90285Overkill - The Grinding Wheel +1 [Japan CD] GQCS-90285
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OVERKILL THE GRINDING WHEEL reviews

Specialists/collaborators reviews

UMUR
"The Grinding Wheel" is the 19th full-length studio album by US, New York based thrash/heavy metal act Overkill. The album was released through Nuclear Blast Records in February 2017. It´s the successor to "White Devil Armory" from 2014 and it features the exact same lineup who recorded the predecessor. Since the release of "Ironbound (2010)", Overkill have been on a roll. Not that the releases before that album aren´t worth a mention, but it was like they stepped it up on that album, and the high quality of "Ironbound (2010)" was continued on "The Electric Age (2012)" and on "White Devil Armory (2014)". In fact the quality has been so high that I was beginning to worry when a fall would come. Most artists have streaks of great albums and streaks of not so great ones, and Overkill are no different in that regard, although they generally have very few albums in their by now major discography, which aren´t at least of a relatively high quality.

Thankfully Overkill have decided to prolong the streak of high quality albums with "The Grinding Wheel". Stylistically the material on the 10 track, 60:12 minutes long album is the sound of Overkill as we know them. Thrashy riffs and rhythms, a high in the mix metallic toned bass, occasional traditional heavy metal leanings, an attitude filled "Fuck You" attitude, and Bobby "Blitz" Ellsworth´s raw rusty vocals in front. The energy and the conviction and passion behind the delivery are infectious, and it is not audible that this is a band almost 40 years into their career (Overkill was formed as far back as 1980). Overkill sound as hungry and ass kicking aggressive as ever.

There is not a single sub par track on the album, but there are a couple which stand out a little more than the rest and I´d mention "Mean Green Killing Machine", "Goddamn Trouble" (which sounds like Nashville Pussy on speed), "Our Finest Hour", "The Long Road" (a brilliant track with both epic and melodic moments, but also some hard edged thrashy riffing), "Come Heavy" (a Black Sabbath influenced track), "Red White And Blue" (a scorching thrasher), and the closing title track (an epic heavy song, which also features a faster paced thrashy section), as some of the highlights.

The musicianship is on a high level on all posts. Powerful tight drumming and bass playing, strong guitar playing and great soloing, and a "Blitz" in top vocal form. "The Grinding Wheel" is incredibly well produced, featuring a powerful, clear, and detailed production, which brings out the best in the material. So upon conclusion "The Grinding Wheel" is yet another high quality release by Overkill. Therefore my fear of a fall after greatness didn´t hold true this time around, and I just have to bow in the dust for the thrash/heavy metal kings of New Jersey. They´ve done it again. A 4.5 star (90%) is fully deserved.
Unitron
"I grabbed a tape from the floor of the car, jammed it in the dash it played Highway Star. With a foot of lead and that Chevy hop, never gonna stop!"

The Mean, Green, Killing Machine is back with The Grinding Wheel, so Let's All Go to Hades to listen to the Finest Hour. We listeners may get into some Goddamn Trouble while taking The Long Road, but forever Shine On. Come Heavy as The Wheel spins while the Red, White, and Blue waves. Overkill's back after a bit longer of a wait than usual, and it's worth it. As this is simply one of the greatest albums the band and music itself has ever produced.

Opening with the rampaging thrash of "Mean, Green, Killing Machine", this album pretty much never lets up with speedy rapid thrashings and groovy swaggering. The no-bullshit romp and stomp of the track "Goddamn Trouble" is essentially Overkill's own Highway Star and just makes you want to step on the gas and blast away to some tunes that are on absolute fire. This is a band that's been around for well over 30 years, but has more energy than most modern bands can claim to have. Take the rampaging punchy thrash that the band has been blazin' through since 2010's Ironbound, and mix it with a southern bluesy swaggering groove and a bit of Iron Maiden-esque epicness, and you got this killer record.

It's pretty much impossible to pick highlights, as every song slays and has an unbelievable amount of energy. Just try and not to get pumped and ready to conquer the world when listening to this album. Bobby "Blitz" Ellsworth gives one of the greatest vocal performances ever, spitting both epic and energetic fun vocal lines. It's impossible to not chant along to songs like "The Long Road" and "Red, White, and Blue" with the delivery of lines like "We're goin' down the mountain, boys" and "Give us liberty, or we can give you death!". D.D. Verni's basslines are just as fantastic as always, and keeps a catchy as hell rhythm section with Ron Lipnicki absolutely walloping the drum kit like there's no tomorrow. Dave Linsk and Derek "The Skull" Tailer both shred and swing like the thrash masters they are, and are among the very best. The thrashings are brutal, the bluesy grooves are just swingin', and the epic moments couldn't be more epic. The title track that closes the album is the definition of a fantastic finale, it maintains the crunch and speed in places of the rest of the album all the while being a nearly 8-minute epic worthy of classic Iron Maiden or Rush's Cygnus X-1. The orchestration and vocals will send shivers down the spine at the end of the massive conclusion to The Grinding Wheel.

As much as some bands may try, nothing says consistent like Overkill, with only Anvil coming close to matching the classic thrash metal act's consistency. Overkill goes beyond consistency though, and makes one of the greatest damn albums ever made. It's an equal to The Years of Decay, which is another one of the greatest albums ever made. If you are a fan of real, no-bullshit metal, listen to this album. You know, even if you just need a reminder about what metal is, Overkill is metal in it's most powerful form. Even on their sixteenth studio album, Overkill continues to deliver the old school thrashing goods. Just like those lyrics from "Goddamn Trouble", Overkill ain't never gonna stop. Hope you found this review helpful, feel free to comment!
Kev Rowland
2017’s ‘The Grinding Wheel’ saw the same line-up as their previous outing, but there is something different about this album which I can’t really put my finger on. Is it the overall production sound? Well, the final mix was conducted by the maestro Andy Sneap, so maybe that’s it. Or is it the urgency and passion that is really coming from this album in spades? Is it the quality of the songs themselves? I give up. I have most, if not all, of their albums and this is their finest yet. A band that started back in 1980 shouldn’t really be producing their finest work nearly forty years later! But here it is, and a delight it from the start through very nearly to the end (more on that later).

Bobby Blitz and D.D Verni are still writing all the material, but here they have stepped it up a notch and there are audible nods to bands like Judas Priest and Black Sabbath as well as peers such as Testament and Exodus. The chorus to “Our Finest Hour” is “I'll be your conscience I'll be your guide, I'll be the black-hand that stops your genocide, I'll be the understanding undisputed power, I'll hold your hand in this our finest hour”. As they say, it is their finest hour, with loads of power, and this has a hook that makes me want to play it again and again. Some of the others are a bit more tongue in cheek, such as “Let’s All Go To Hades” where they deliberately slow it down for the introduction before speeding up again - reminiscent of some old NWOBHM numbers. This is one that makes me smile each timer I hear it.

My only major groan of the album itself is the title cut, which is the last song on the album. It ends by fading out into a few delicate notes. I have no idea what is going on here, or why, but is no way to end a thrash album. But, in some ways that seems a minor quibble on what is a very fine album indeed. Turn it up, play it loud, this album deserves to be treated with respect.
siLLy puPPy
Well into the second decade of the 21st century and more than 30 years after their debut album hit the market, OVERKILL continue to release astonishingly consistent quality thrash metal recordings that while firmly planted in the parameters of their established brand of heavy thrash riffs embellished by high energy workouts and accessible melodic hooks always manage to eke out a distinct identity for each album that they uncage. THE GRINDING WHEEL is their 18th studio album and it seems that the band is absolutely nowhere near the end of their career as this album continues their tradition of well-crafted thrash metal headbangers that find Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth’s distinct vocals sounding just as top form as ever. While the bigwigs of 80s thrash stardom take entire decades to conjure up a new release to the public, OVERKILL seems to have a bottomless well of inspiration has seems to take no more than three years between albums.

OVERKILL has really stepped up their game in the last decade with an unthinkable energetic development that has taken their trademark sound and given it a much needed vitality boost especially beginning with “Ironbound” and continuing gracefully with “The Electric Age” and “White Devil Armory.” THE GRINDING WHEEL will not be too much of surprise to stalwart head banging worshippers of thrash and it indeed continues down the path set forth on the previous albums, however there is a return to a dirty grunge type of sound on this one. There is also a lot more undercurrents of Judas Priest type NWOBM grooves going on with Ellsworth’s vocal phrasing sounding a lot like Halford at times. It also sounds like the guitar and bass are tuned down a bit giving a darker bass fueled distortion with more traditional 80s style riffs. Despite the more traditional metal aspects shining through within the album’s run, there are still thrash influences aplenty with more than a comparable riff to classic Metallica, Testament or even Pantera. While the production on recent albums has been quite crystal clear, on THE GRINDING WHEEL is seems to be deliberately muddy and for me has sort of a dirty Motorhead feel to it. While it’s obvious that OVERKILL is going for a more retro feel to this album even including Sabbathy doom riffs on “Come Heavy,” there is a fine balance between keeping it grungy with raw dirty distorted energy and a nice production value which shines in between the cracks of the heavy riffs as well as on the slick polished choral outro of the title track.

THE GRINDING WHEEL will not disappoint any longtime fans of OVERKILL for sure but equally it does not offer any sort of experimentation that will attract newer listeners who haven’t already been won over. For my personal tastes i am a huge fan of the newer phase of OVERKILL’s career preferring them to even the stellar releases of their early days and in many ways THE GRINDING WHEEL harks back to the soul of the 80s dirty old-school thrash which i find quite the satisfying listen but doesn’t quite have the diversity of dynamics that albums like “Ironbound” quite had but despite not quite measuring up to the thrash-terpieces of the metal world, THE GRINDING WHEEL is yet another stellar quality release from OVERKILL proving that they deserve the coveted crown of thrash metal overlords as Metallica, Megadeth and Anthrax have become quite predicable and never quite muster up enough quality moments to keep my interest much anymore on newer offerings. OVERKILL on the other hand consistently keep the thrash candles burning and never once disappoint even on their more experimental albums such as “Bloodletting.” Like many newer metal releases, there are many different types of releases offering fans different versions of the album. Mine is a digipak which contains the bonus track “Emerald,” a Thin Lizzy tune off their “Jailbreak” but actually sounds more Iron Maiden than anything else on the album.

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