Review

OVERKILL The Grinding Wheel

Album · 2017 · Thrash Metal
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4.5/5 ·
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.
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UMUR wrote:
4 months ago
I´m sure it´ll end pretty high on my year end list too, but let´s see what other goodies 2017 will send our way, before making a decision :-)
Unitron wrote:
4 months ago
Good review, this is still my AOTY so far. It's definitely one of their best albums.

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