Overkill have been such a reliable mainstay of the thrash scene for so many years now that fans would probably forgive them an occasional drop in quality, and yet The Grinding Wheel once again confirms that these veterans remain eminently capable of ripping our heads off. In terms of musical evolution, songs like opening rager Mean Green Killing Machine and the snarling, rumbling Goddamn
Trouble stick proudly to a formula of ballsout, ruthlessly precise thrash metal with a few deft bursts of punk rock snot and some pristine hard rock hooks thrown in for malicious measure. The key to Overkill’s enduring efficacy is in the delivery, however: from frontman Bobby Ellsworth’s lupine cackle and guitarist Dave Linsk’s imperious, spiralling solos to the reassuring crunch of D.D. Verni’s bass, The Grinding Wheel never sounds like the work of a bunch of old bastards clinging to a career.
Instead, die-cast anthems like Our Finest Hour and Let’s All Go To Hades and slow-burning epics like the closing title track give the firm impression that Overkill are every bit as furious and virile as they were in the early 80s. Best of all, these songs are absolutely guaranteed to slot violently into the band’s setlists when they embark on yet another gruelling world tour. Thirty-seven years down,
Overkill are persistence incarnate and a noble, unerring force in an age of uncertainty. Long may they
brutalise our neck muscles.