The Grinding Wheel
Better songs and more focus makes this the best Overkill record in years
There's a bag of hammers. Then there's Overkill's bag of hammers. In terms of heaviness, intensity and craftsmanship, Overkill has no equal and very few superiors. They are what they are, take it or leave it...or like Blitz would probably summarize--we don't care what you say, f#@k you. The New Jersey natives just continue pushing that heavy load through decade after decade. In a lot of ways, they have become Motorhead, the journeyman's band that seemingly always produced a slab of newness about every two years. Like everyone else I have that half-dozen Overkill record stack that typically helps me feel the fire when the need arises. But every so often these vets will deliver the crème de la crème. 'The Grinding Wheel' is one of THOSE albums.
The album's opener leaves you with a bit of familiarity but around the halfway point the temp slides to a slower pace and we hear the first of many album moments where Blitz is singing his ass off again. It's a conscious effort to better the vocals and the effort pays off throughout. Blitz sounds amazing on "Shine On", again halfway through he sings slower verses for the betterment of the record. There's new life on the strings too, that song in particular has some of the best leads I've heard in a long time. Check the minute mark 4:48 for exhibit A. The title track is tremendous and one of the better songs this decade from anyone. The closing moments are very European with the chanting, dare I say Accept? "Let's All Go to Hades" is fun as Hell (no pun intended) and "Come Heavy" is just a freight train of groove.
Overall 'The Grinding Wheel' is one of the better Overkill albums since 'W.F.O.'. It's certainly a career highlight and one that prolongs the band's career and destiny. I'm going 4.5 on it only because some of the songs are a little longer than necessary. With that touch up, it gets a perfect score.
60+ minutes of fast-paced, demolishing heavy metal
It's been a successful couple of years for the godfathers of thrash with new albums from Metallica, Megadeth, Anthrax, and Slayer. Last year also saw quality releases from Testament, Voivod, Anvil, Metal Church, Death Angel, Flotsam and Jetsam and more.
Now, 2017 is gracing us gutter rats with another stalwart from the early years of the genre's movement--East Coast thrash pioneers, Overkill. For 37 years they have been an unwavering wrecking crew of violence, energy, and power. When I listen to them, I can feel my blood pressure rise.
Their eighteenth studio release, The Grinding Wheel
is 60+ minutes of fast-paced, demolishing heavy metal. As straight-forward and unrelenting as it is, they add some small turns to the freight train path, like the swing of "Goddamn Trouble" and the groove of "Come Heavy". "Shine On" is an odd track with its mix of nonlinear riffage, atypical lyrical content, and slow mid-section vocals. "Let's All Go To Hades" sneaks in some punk vibe. Chants at the close of the title track sound like something from the German power-meisters. Gang vocals on this release are raw and keep the production one foot in the underground. The Grinding Wheel
doesn't get points for experimentation, but that isn't what they are about. "At the end of the day Overkill is Overkill," says vocalist Bobby "Blitz" Ellsworth. Nothing is broken and nothing needs fixed.
Best Overkill album since 2010's Ironbound