You don’t just blunder into Overkill’s buzzsawpunkmetal party 18 albums in. If you’re picking up The Grinding Wheel, there’s a good chance you were there in 1991 or 1983 and you’re in this for the duration. Good news for you, pal: if ever there was an album that was made for the diehard fans, it’s this one.
As the title suggests, Overkill drill down on the template they’ve been mining since at least 1990’s Horrorscope – a kind of mutated melodic power-thrash gone feral – and they never let it go. Ever. So even the opener, Mean Green Killing Machine, is almost eight minutes long. Is that really the most economical way to deliver a message about feeding wolverines?
Almost every song plods along for six minutes or more. It’s punishing. The beauty of middleaged Overkill is that they weren’t middle-aged Metallica. Sigh. Wheel still crushes skulls – it just takes all day to do it.