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Overkill: The Wings of War

Is there no end to the late period creative surge for New Jersey thrash legends Overkill? After hearing their latest barnburner, The Wings of War, the answer is most certainly a definitive no. Always a pretty consistent band, in recent years the guys have cranked out some real killers, like Ironbound, The Electric Age, White Devil Armory, The Grinding Wheel, and now this latest Nuclear Blast scorcher can be added to that list. Alongside Testament, Metal Church, Exodus, Flotsam and Jetsam, and Megadeth, Overkill are defying the odds and making some of the best music of their career as they approach their 40th anniversary together.

Fronting the band as always is Bobby "Blitz" Ellsworth, his leather lunged, gravelly vocals all over every inch of The Wings of War, starting with the lethal thrash attack of "Last Man Standing" and never letting up for one second. "Believe in the Fight" is a raging mosh ready track, Dave Linsk & Derek Tailer cranking out a wealth of massive riff-o-rama while bassist D.D. Verni and new drummer Jason Bittner blast forth with some serious bottom end grooves. "Head of a Pin" is another all out metal assault, the production absolutely crushing, and the band show off some punk ferocity on the raging maelstrom that is "Batshitcrazy". The albums first calm moments come at the opening of "Distortion", as majestic guitar patterns lull the listener into a false sense of security before the booming groove metal riffs tear apart everything in their path, which gives way to the even more relentless "A Mother's Prayer", a grinding thrash metal beast. All you New Jersey folks will get a kick out of "Welcome to the Garden State", a pure '80s styled speed metal song, somewhat dated sounded, but further proof of just how ferocious Overkill still are, despite it being perhaps the weakest song in this set. "Where Few Dare to Walk" is glorious old school thrash, again, the production doing wonders to the guitars, which sound absolutely massive, and Blitz spewing his venom over the top, while "Out on the Road-Kill" is another tumultuous ripper ready made for the mosh pit. "Hole In My Soul" blends thrash with melodic power metal, closing out this mighty fine album on a real high note. If you get the digipack version of the CD, it comes with a bonus cut "In Ashes", which sounds pretty tame in comparison to the rest of the album, and there's no real information as to what year or where it was recorded, but it definitely sounds from either the late '80s or the '90s. Not sure what the reason to add it here was, but it seems out of place.

Another year, another kick ass album from Overkill, a band that shows no signs of slowing down one bit. Long may they continue doing what they do best!

Track Listing
1. Last Man Standing 5:49
2. Believe In The Fight 5:03
3. Head Of A Pin 5:56
4. Bat Shit Crazy 4:33
5. Distortion 6:09
6. A Mother's Prayer 3:58
7. Welcome To The Garden State 4:42
8. Where Few Dare To Walk 5:25
9. Out On The Road-Kill 4:41
10. Hole In My Soul 4:47
11. In Ashes (bonus track)

Added: March 20th 2019
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
Hits: 426
Language: english

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Overkill: The Wings of War
Posted by Steven Reid, SoT Staff Writer on 2019-03-20 22:58:28
My Score:

I’ve lost count of the amount of times that I’ve mentioned in recent years that the US thrash scene is, once again, where it’s at. Barely a month goes by where I’m not heaping praise on a blistering new outing from a band that first came to prominence three decades-plus ago and it would appear that 2019 is going to be no different. If your wallet has already recovered from scooping up new outings from the likes of Metal Church and Flotsam & Jetsam, then get ready for The Wings Of War from Overkill, an album that’s simply not interested in what’s hip, in, trend setting, or flavour of the month - unless of course that month was March 1985!

Actually, that’s unfair, because Overkill sound massively current with their latest outing, it’s just that the current metal scene is all the mightier for reaching into the past for inspiration and like those others vintage acts out there, Overkill were there at the time, so they have every right to be exactly who they are. And what that is in 2019 is a battering ram of rifferama that absolutely knocks you for six. The guitar pairing of Dave Linsk and Derek Tailer are unstoppable - if you don’t believe me, crank up the mid-song breakdown during “Believe In The Fight” and tell me it isn’t one of the catchiest, meatiest hooks you’ve heard all year. That they add the same amount of crackling intensity to the rest of this album is undoubted and impossible to resist. Everywhere you turn “Last Man Standing”, “Welcome To The Garden State”, “Hole In My Soul” and “Distortion” positively thrive on the fret-torture being meted out. Singer Bobby ‘Blitz’ Ellsworth may never have been on better form, leaving it impossible to argue as he yells that everybody’s ‘bat shit crazy’ in the song of the same name, before he takes you “Where Few Dare To Walk”, as Overkill slow it down ever so slightly and convince hugely as they do so.

With new (and ex-Flotsam & Jetsam/Shadows Fall) drummer Jason Bittner locking in super-tight with original bassist DD Verni, it’s a sealed deal. Overkill are soaring high on The Wings Of War, and nearly 40 years after they formed they are still as lethal as ever " if not more so!

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