Oh glorious thrash. Over Kill is part of the original wave of the 80’s thrash movement. While most of the recognizable names of that time came from the west coast Bay Area (Metallica, Megadeth, Exodus and Testament), Over Kill was representing out of New Jersey. This has always provided the more grimy, rock inflection to their thrash. Granted, this band has seen the rise, fall and now the rise of heavy metal again throughout their 20+ year career. But don’t think this is one of those thrash bands that ‘grew out’ of the sound that made them popular (ahem, Metallica I’m staring right at you fags!).
On the contrary, “Killbox 13” drips with all the classic elements of good thrash. Stuttering riffage, double bass attacks and pit swirling speed-ups. This album could have been released in late 80’s easy, but doesn’t sound dated. The production is top notch and the sheer number of songs that hit with an original punch is admittedly surprising.
There are at least 5 tracks here that just smoke. “The Sound of Dying” is about as classic thrash as I’ve heard since ’88. Simple, straight ahead steady riffage, and a pit worthy speed up and rhyme scheme for the chorus (and then the breakdown at the end sounds like a cross between a heavy AC/DC song and the build-up of Pantera’s ‘Cemetary Gates’).
Overall, we got some contemporary thrash that mimics what was cool about 80’s metal, while doing an admirable job of upping the sound to hold weight against contemporary metal. Bobby ‘Blitz’ Ellsworth still has that whiney, gravely voice (which sounds an awful lot like when someone screams in a high voice to make fun of metal) so the vocals will probably only appeal to those who can handle the falsetto screams of something very metal.
Highly recommendable to anyone who owns any of the above mentioned Bay Area bands and should impress the old school who thought Overkill were just a second wave of 80’s thrash band that faded away. They not only have persisted, but also seem to be producing some of the better music of their career with ‘Killbox 13’.
Please excuse me while I add an Over Kill patch to my denim jacket.