OVERKILL - The Wings Of War

February 17, 2019, 6 months ago

(Nuclear Blast)

Mark Gromen

Rating: 8.0

review heavy metal overkill

OVERKILL - The Wings Of War

Anyone doubting Blitz & DD's long dormant punk pedigree would do well to check out the speedy, humor-filled, Ramones style paean “Welcome To The Garden State”, as well as heed the message about those of us from New Jersey. Surprisingly profanity free (apart from a barely audible refrain) with tongue in cheek (iron fist in a velvet glove?), the lyrics are courtesy of/refer to residents of the most attitude ridden corridor on this planet (at least that I've found), recounting local points of pride like the garbage/medical waste littered beaches. Don't try to tell us it sucks, or watch your back! “We're out of line and got no time, for you.”

Paradoxically, the album actually kicks off with “Last Man Standing”, a pulsating mechanized/industrialized drone eventually morphing into newboy Jason Bittner's drums, followed quickly by the requisite shuffle of guitars and Blitz trademark caterwaul. Fine lead work by Dave Linsk on this one. Second song (of two) that mentions “fighting”, nice change of of tempo, midway through “Believe In The Fight”. Thematically also two-in-a-row about the band's viability/longevity. Can't help but think some of the retirements, (forced or otherwise) by contemporaries, like Slayer, haven't crept into the songwriter's psyche.

After a grinding Sabbathy bass intro, “Head Of A Pin” bears some structural (phrasing) similarities to “Goddamn Trouble”, off the last outing (The Grinding Wheel). It concludes with the singer repeatedly squealing about “How many angels fit on the head of a pin.” High tempo, pummeling thrash for “Bat Shit Crazy” (which concerns modern society). Then, out of nowhere, comes an airy, almost acoustic dream state, with a cappella/spoken word lyrics, before an aggressive instrumental run puts the song back on track. Verni's double-neck bass greets “Distortion”, soon joined by guitar, but both stop (as if intro is over) prior to the “real” start of this mid-tempo grinder, complete with some mildly modulated/echoing vocals. “A Mother's Prayer” picks up speed, detailing a hell raiser's lifestyle and using the “come on, come on“ retort, similar to “Mean Green Killing Machine”. The bass is prominently featured again, on the pedestrian “Where Few Dare To Walk” (another career statement?). Bash out an ode to the band, and their fans, “Out On The Road-kill”, before “Hole In My Soul” closes things out, no frills, as longtime fans would want it.

19 albums in, hard to believe a band I know so well can still throw a few enjoyable curveballs, amongst the fastballs. Just lay off the spitter!


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