Company: Nuclear Blast
Well-crafted, creative, but simultaneously old-school thrash
I honestly never paid much attention to New Jersey/New York area thrash veterans Overkill, and I honestly can't say why. Maybe I had gotten my fill of thrash via my exposure to bigger names like Metallica and Megadeth. Whatever the case, Ironbound had me thinking right from the first spin that I should have paid the band more attention. Long story short, hearing this album prompted me to check out more of the band's material and culminated in myself plus two friends standing crammed into a packed Massachusetts concert hall just weeks ago to witness the local stop of the band's expansive and brutal Killfest package tour.
Yes, though I readily admit to being an Overkill newbie, Ironbound made an instant impression on me. Right from the opening minute or two of the brilliant and punishing lead track "The Green and Black," it was clear that Bobby "Blitz" Ellsworth, D.D. Verni and their latest guitars/drums triumvirate mean business here, and what a mean business it is!
Those of you already familiar with Overkill's trademark hardcore-influenced semi-melodic, often technical and borderline progressive thrash sound will likely find this album instantly familiar and comfortable, but with a welcome sense of adventure and ambition to it. For those still not hip to the 'Kill, you will immediately notice the intensity, speed and tightness of Overkill's typically busy but groovy mosh material plus Blitz's gritty but full-range vocals which strike a balance between punk roughness and his trademark melodic croak. Behind him, Verni and drummer Ron Lipnicki provide a busy but solid rhythmic backbone for the seemingly endless array of aggressive, busy but solid riffs cranked out by guitarists Dave Linsk and Derek Tailer. Many of these tunes, including "In Vain," the aforementioned "The Green and Black" and the similarly spirited title track boast numerous interesting and welcome breaks of all sorts- slowing down, mellowing out or just changing the tempo amongst their mostly speedy central riffs. Even better, "Bring Me the Night" (what the hell does that mean, anyway?) marries a classic New Wave of British Heavy Metal-inspired riff (think Diamond Head's "Helpless," for example) to the band's tight-as-a-drum mosh pit sensibilities. Really, it is only towards the end of the disc that quality dips much at all ("The Head and Heart" just doesn't do much for me), and even then, only to the point of solid filler rather than pure junk.
In any case, the end result is a solid, enjoyable listen for those who appreciate well-crafted, creative, but simultaneously old-school thrash. And damn, does the opening trio of tunes translate well live in front of an enthusiastically moshing and surfing crowd!