Overkill: The Grinding Wheel – CD Review

What can be said about a band like Overkill that hasn’t already been said? They are among the pioneers of Thrash Metal, always consistent with their musical style, and show no signs of slowing down. The band’s latest album is entitled The Grinding Wheel and displays once again, these old school Thrashers still got it, and got it good.

With the bulk of the writing being done by bass extraordinaire D.D. Verni and lead singer Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth, it’s a little amazing this writing duo never run out of solid Thrash riffs. I mean really think about it, The Grinding Wheel is Overkill’s 18th studio release and their sound is still lively and as fresh ever.
As much as I enjoyed Overkill’s 2014 release White Devil Armory, I’m pretty sure The Grinding Wheel tops it. The combination of the rhythms, Bobby’s voice and production make this album sound old school and new all at once. As Thrashy as this album is, it’s also super clean sounding and here are a few prime examples that stood out to me.
Right off the bat starting with track one “Mean Green Killing Machine” we get a killer intro of drums followed by that traditional Overkill guitar tone and D.D.’s bass rumbling. The intro builds up slowly and then the payoff, a true Thrashers dream, a rhythm that should instantly turn any floor into a sweet circle pit. What I truly enjoyed about this tune is towards the middle of the song, there is a little slow down and we hear a lower toned Bobby sing in a range not normally associated with him. That slow down is followed by another build up and paying that off with some on point guitar solos towards the back half of the song. “Mean Green Killing Machine” is solid track and battling for my favorite on this album.
The very next track is called “Goddamn Trouble” and it is just downright fun. This particular tune struck me having a Southern tone or influence. Sort of odd that’s what I heard knowing darn well these Thrash veterans are straight New Jersey boys. Anyhow, the riffs and rhythm section hold the fort down with a steady energetic groove that every Headbanger wants from his Thrash music.
Moving on to track seven “Come Heavy” is possibly the most “commercial” sounding song on this record. It’s not super Thrashy, but it is heavy as hell. D.D.’s bass lines are really amazing on this track. If you are a fan of bass players like yours truly, you will appreciate this track. There is really steady drumming done on this track as well as some really neat guitar solos. Not the truest Thrash tune on this record but it’s one of my favorites.
What I enjoyed about Overkill’s record The Grinding Wheel most was there were moments where I could have sworn I was back in 1987, when Thrash was king. The Grinding Wheel has everything you want in an Overkill album, or any album. Great riffs, Bobby’s vocals are on point and really good writing. The new material should be most excellent live when their tour starts this month. You should buy this album and a ticket to the show, you won’t regret it.

Gene A. Gaona

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