Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Overkill - The Grinding Wheel (2017)

You wanna know what grinds my gears? When bands try to over complicate things when they do not need to. Well, that is unfortunately what Overkill is doing here on "The Grinding Wheel", thinking that they are a progressive band all of a sudden. Okay, I might be over exaggerating, but the fact of the matter is that Overkill is taking their sweet time in this record, not knowing when they should stop.

Sound wise it is not much that has changed, it is still catchy thrash metal with tons of attitude and punch, with band members that play like they are still in their 20's. These Jersey boys thrusts through every obstacle with incredible determination, never losing focus. I especially love the singer Bobby "Blitz" Ellsworth whom have one of the greatest voices in thrash metal, and it still sounds great close to 40 years after his debut. I have tried to sing like that, and all I am left with is a soar throat, how does he do it?

As stated before though, it is the length I have a problem with here. It is not like the band has suddenly made longer songs, but they have rarely felt like they went on for too long. In "The Grinding Wheel" Though, I can point out several songs that could have easily edit out some parts or end earlier, ultimately improving the song. Songs like the title track, "Our Finest Hour", "Shine On", and "Mean, Green, Killing Machine" are simply too long for their own good, showing that less truly can be more sometimes. Hell, the shortest song is just under 4 minutes, and the average length is just under 6. This long strategy has worked in small doses before for Overkill, but this is simply... well... overkill.

With that said though, there is still a lot to like about "The Grinding Wheel", because it continues on the fantastic success wave the band has rode on since "Ironbound". A lot of songs might remind you of some other songs from recent Overkill records, one example being that "Our Finest Hour" is a lot like "Electric Rattlesnake" (only not as corny), but they can still stand strong alone. Close to all songs on the record are really enjoyable thrash metal, even if they might not stick with you outside of the album.

The sparkle in the eye is also still there of course, poking fun at both this and that. Like in "Red White And Blue", where the band proclaims that while there might be a new man at the Oval Office, it is still just a new clown replacing an old one. Or how about "The Wheel", where all of a sudden, a Mr. Wonderful and Mr. "Kiss My Ass" struts around. And how can I forget "Goddamn Trouble", a groovy ass song that has one of the truest lyric lines in the entire album. "Goddamn trouble, never gonna stop".

All of this makes "The Grinding Wheel" a really nice album that all of Overkill's fans will eat up without any problem, it is good, fun thrash from loud mouthed white boys from Jersey. While it does have its flaws (the god damn length man!), it is still a really enjoyable thrash sandwich that does not loose its taste all too quickly. So even if this is not the band's finest hour, it is still a well oiled machinery that works as intended, and does its job without any rust in sight.

Songs worthy of recognition: Our Finest Hour, "Mean, Green, Killing Machine", Red White Blue

Rating: 7,5/10 Long Roads


More reviews of Overkill:
White Devil Armory
The Wings of War

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