You don’t know my friend Jeremy, but he’s the first thing I think of when I listen to Overkill. He wears Kiss undies and jumps off of cliffs regularly. He’s gotta have everything extreme like finishing a two/four to yourself in one afternoon solely in the honour of metal. That’s extreme, just like Overkill. The experienced fiver can somewhat be considered one of the pioneers of thrash metal, given they flourished in the genre before the big four of thrash (Metallica, Anthrax, Slayer, and Megadeth) came to their timely fruition. Overkill’s 19th release The Wings of War is a solid addition to their already consistent discography. Any song on this record could most likely get any metalhead crowd moving bodies hard and fast because they render everything we ask for: clerical denial mixed with a little violence, a touch of cadaverous fixation and a fuck ton of distortion.
First to hit my attention was how down to business the album gets right from the start. There’s no messing around or wasting time with experimentation, it’s furious thrashy density most of the way through. Few moments of slower melodic passages (with the exception of intros) like in “Batshitcrazy,” don’t fit in quite well enough for me on the grounds that they feel more like they’re trying to respect a certain template of a ‘generic rock song structure’ with obviously differing sections catering to the inexperienced metal listener. However, it’s hard to stay put on small details that aren’t exactly perfect, because vocalist Bobby Ellsworth is so well seasoned in the art of keeping you entwined with his high pitched motherfucking rasp of a voice. Holy circle of fifths is he ever satisfying to the overall direction of every single tune, especially when he guides you directly into the sexiest and most slippery guitar solos by current lead guitarist Dave Linsk just like you needed them: technically impressive and pretty close to theoretical orgasm. These guys basically sound like they were born into the church of thrash and baptized in the very sacred sweat of those super hot demon bitches of your dreams.
Tracks like “Head of a Pin” and “Distortion” will make you go back for a second serving with their catchiness, and that’s when you’ll discover “Welcome to the Garden State,” which almost hilariously, will make you wish you were from Jersey. With a smidge more punk in its bones, this tune sets up a little tent in your heart for a couple of days, brimming with inspirations of nationalist anarchy.
All in all, a solid new album for an already great old school band. You definitely won’t be sitting still for very long while listening. Overkill is the gift that keeps on giving, the trusty steed of daily necessity for epic thrash metal that gets you going and going hard, since 1980.
Written by Talia Plante
*edited by Danielle Kenedy