Overkill – The Wings Of War (Nuclear Blast)

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It’s a throw away world we occupy these days. Everything is disposable and that includes music. What’s good one minute is seen as trash the next, so it’s somewhat comforting that, I’m sat here reviewing the nineteenth album from trash metal titans Overkill.  Now in their thirtieth year the New Jersey boys have released a blinding record. The addition of drummer Jason Bittner in the last few years has galvanised the band and Bobby Blitz has never sounded so good. With the world so fixated on the so called “Big 4,” people forget there are, arguably, better bands closely snaping at their heels. That’s where Overkill come in. If you’re ask me I’d argue Overkill’s overall work easily matches, and often betters, Megadeth’s output

Opening with the title track Last Man Standing, it’s easy to see that the boys are out to impress but it’s the second track Believe In The Fight where the album really takes off. A track that shreds and grooves in equal measure like Judas Priest meets Cro-Mags The beauty of the addition of Jason Bittner is that he doesn’t feel the need to overplay, and appreciates when a simple beat is more effective than a fancy fill. Head Of A Pin has been described by Blitz himself as “Black Sabbath on meth.” Never have I heard a more accurate description. A stomping track that will surely become a live favourite. The crossover style of Bat Shit Crazy takes the band back to classic territory, a Crumbsuckers style riff, albeit with an acoustic interlude and a face melting solo. A Mother’s War opens with some solid bass work by D.D Verni before Blitz unleashes some fiery Halford-esque screams over it. Sounding off about their homeland and growing up in New Jersey The Garden State, again ventures into hardcore territory, gang vocals included and before you know it they are ripping through Hole In My Soul, a track that encompasses everything that Overkill do so well in one song and the album is over. Then it hits you, that there isn’t a bad track ton here. Not many bands who are thirty years into their career can pull that off.

With The Wings of War, the thrash veterans have created a thoroughly modern sounding record, that’s steeped in old school sensibilities that’s as brutal as it is melodic. The new school thrash fans of bands like Power Trip, Iron Reagan and their ilk need to do their homework and get down with Overkill. They’re still the best at what they do… Chris Andrews

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