The Grinding Wheel is the eighteenth studio album by American Thrash giants Overkill and was released on February 10th 2017. Now most metal fans are familiar with the metal machine known as Overkill. Fronted by the amazing Bobby Blitz Ellsworth, the band has been going strong since the early eighties putting out albums just as fast as Motorhead. It is so crazy because I feel like White Devil Armory just came out but hey more Overkill is never a bad thing. But with a new album so quickly does the band start to sound tired or do they still rule the kingdom and keep their style of meaty, hook filled thrash up to grade? Let’s jump in the pit and find out!
1.Mean, Green. Killing Machine- First off, I love the title of this song because it literally signifies what Overkill are. Opening with some pounding drums and solid mid tempo down riffing, the song really ramps you up as it builds quite well into the main riff with almost a Judas Priest feel to it. The band comes right out of the gates with some catchy as hell lyrics being spat by Blitz who I honestly don’t think ages. Seriously his voice is still in such good shape it’s insane. The chorus is pretty killer as well and keeps that bouncy feel all through the track as well. It’s Overkill, plain and simple and it doesn’t ever let up.
2.Goddamn Trouble- This song has more of a bounce to it that Overkill are know for doing and I always love when it has that really solid rhythm that begs headbanging to it. The lyrics are so damn infectious as well. This is actually one of my favorite songs on the album simply for how catchy it is.
3.Our Finest Hour- This is a total circle pit and stage diving tune as the band keeps the playing extremely solid with double bass galore. It has more of that fast singing that Blitz does oh so well. It almost feels like he’s rapping it with how the rhythm goes. The chorus is so damn epic on this song and is again one of my favorites on the album for how powerful the band plays it. The solo absolutely rips as well and almost has a bit of an oldschool thrash feel to it as well.
4.Shine On- Bringing back a bit of that traditional heavy metal feel to it, this song again is catchy as hell. Overkill always manages to keep you interested with their bouncy quick down riffing playing and the chorus is a total headbanging good time. There is some interesting tempo changes as well that keep the song interesting.
5.The Long Road- This song feels like it could have came from 86′ and even has that epic metal feel as well. The opening solo is pretty bad ass as well and I think this is one of the best songs Overkill have written in years because it builds so well into a full Thrash assault. Again, the chorus is pretty bad ass and is not hard to sing to and can get stuck in your head oh so easily.
6.Lets all go to Hades- This is one of the slowest songs on the album and has more of a Sabbathy feel to it but it does eventually pick up more and it has that standard Overkill stamp of approval on it. Simply put: it’s Overkill how can you go wrong?
7.Come Heavy- This song is actually a bit of a change of pace and has almost a southern metal feel to it with an immense amount of groove to it. Like damn the groove to this song is so good you just cant help but at least bob your head to it. It does speed up a little bit half way through and just absolutely rips through the solo. One of the best tracks on the album bar none!
8.Red White and Blue- Going back to the full frontal Thrash brutality, this song is one of the more straight speed songs on the album and doesn’t let up one bit. The chorus is so catchy and I love the incredibly fast vocals as well. The tune rips and it is one you just have to crank to ten.
9.The Wheel- I dig the doomy intro to this song and again it builds pretty well into another hard down picking tune. Its another damn good tune and keeps the consistency of the album up to par as well. The solo is also another one of my favorites on the album as well.
10.The Grinding Wheel- This song sounds like a Slayer song when it starts out with similar chord arrangements but quickly goes into a more mid tempo jam with Blitz singing a bit lower during a few verses as well. Its a pretty heavy tune and proves that being heavy doesn’t always have to be fast. This is more of the epic song on the album as the tempo changes to a faster thrash pace towards the the four minute mark and literally shows the band going as fast as they can. The title track is the highlight of the album for me with multiple soling and even some Iron Maiden-esque moments thrown in as well that I dig. Easily another one of the best songs the band has written to date and is a very high point to end the record.
Overall, I give The Grinding Wheel a solid 8 out of 10. Overkill manage to create another album that goes very well with a very consistent and fresh library of music. However, they manage to give some new ideas that really work in their favor while also giving their lethal dose of Thrash metal that we know and love them for. Overkill prove they can still do it and do it very well. I highly recommend this album. I mean come on it’s Overkill!!!!