Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Green and Black

Overkill, those venerable thrash metal veterans, have released their 54th album, "Ironbound". Now why is this event bloggable?? Read on, kiddies.

I first saw Overkill around 1983-84 when they opened for the legendary Dead End Kids at the Empire Rock room in Philly. They were a young thrash outfit and had the leather and make-up look that was popular at the time. They were hungry to win over the audience and kicked major ass. The Dead End Kids on that night, was perhaps one of the last times we saw them live. They plowed thru their classic riff-rockers like "Dead End Kids" and "Rough House Rock" along with their obscure covers like Alex Harvey's "Faith Healer". Somebody should have a tribute site for them somewhere...they were one helluva live band.

We continued to see Overkill throughout the 80's mostly at the Airport Music Hall, where we could count on a TT Quick gig at least every other month, and also some of the best Ramones shows were there. Every time we saw Overkill Blitz would have a different rap with the audience. For example..."I see there's beer upstairs....I'll be right up after the show!!".....stuff like that. Or...."man, you motherfuckers get uglier every time I see you!"

Here we are 27 years later, and the DEK's are sadly long defunct (probably all dead except for Mattson...). Overkill suprisingly still survive, with Blitz and Verni the sole original members.. but yet as sure as the sun rises, and I lose, a new Overkill album is out.
And dammit, this motherfucker just kills.

I say Overkill are the most underrated band in thrash. They deserve to be right up there with Exodus, Slayer and Testament as the "fourth" great thrash band. Churning out one album and tour after another for 25 plus years, Blitz delivers the goods time and time again. I've seen them live maybe 50 times. My favorite era has to be when Tim Mallare was on drums, the dude ranks up there with Lombardo as one of the great thrash drummers.

Now of course some of their mid-90's albums were spotty. A few good tunes, a few duds, some deviations from true thrash. But compared to other bands of the genre who sold out completely (uh, Metallicrap come to mind), Overkill remained heavy.

Ironbound is a complete return to form and may be their best album in 20 years.
The riffs, the speed, the precision, they are all there. Blitz is Blitz and belts out the vox like it was 1983 and they were opening for the Dead End Kids.

It's early, but this will probably be a contender for album of the year.



Blogger Stooge Moe said...

Oh man. I think I was at the Empire that night. They kicked ass! They were bowling over the audience of about 25, who seemed to be stunned at the speed and fury. There were a couple of guys who would "woooo" after every song, but that was about it. I don't think the Philly crowd was ready for thrash yet.

What a gracious review on the latest album. I'll have to add it to my list.

See you at the next Overkill gig!

2:22 PM  

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