Overkill - The Wings of War
Nuclear Blast
Thrash Metal
10 songs (51:03)
Release year: 2019
Overkill, Nuclear Blast
Reviewed by Goat
Major event

Legends returning with their nineteenth full-length, New Jersey's own Overkill are as fun as ever. New guy Jason Bittner (also of Shadows Fall) makes his debut on the drums and more than fits in, adding a solid battery to the already razor-sharp instrumental section. And when you have been playing together for as long as guitarists Dave Linsk and Derek Tailer, not to mention original bassist DD Verni still standing strong with Bobby 'Blitz' Ellsworth since 1980, you can expect a smoothly awesome set of tracks that connect with your ears immediately and make The Wings of War feel like an album you've been listening to for years. Since making something of a comeback with 2010's Ironbound the band have been locked into a solid run and this is no exception. You can tell the band enjoy themselves from how fun the songs are, a factor often left aside by otherwise serious thrash bands, and there's no lessening in intensity either. Opener Last Man Standing is a muscle-pumping pit anthem seemingly designed for moshing chaos, tight and downright technical, and although the following Believe in the Fight switches it up a little for groovy stomping, it's no less driven and compelling.

The band are at their best when they experiment a little, and so Head of a Pin has been one of my favourite tracks since I heard it. Opening with a slower, almost Sabbath-tinged riff, the band build up through some nicely ominous riff choices to utter chaos with Blitz outright shrieking at the peak. Fine, it's not the most varied of palettes, the band painting with green and black only but they make some terrific songs out of those two colours. Both guitarists perform superbly, cranking out the heavy riffs and plenty of killer soloing. And quite often it's just great to listen to Blitz and marvel that a man rapidly approaching his sixtieth birthday still sounds so venomous and alive, his unique voice (somewhere between a rasp and a snarl) a central feature of Overkill's sound.

It more than makes up for moments like Batshitcrazy's over-reliance on modern groove riffs, the rest of the track soon picking up the slack (including a well-placed, weirdly Ozzy-esque mellow interlude that caught me off guard each time). The following Distortion is probably the most experimental piece on the album, opening with strummed guitar and widdly leads before launching into an almost Maidenesque epic build. Another highlight is the punk metal churner Welcome to the Garden State, sounding like an ampted-up Venom as the band humorously pay tribute to New Jersey, complete with a Sopranos sample. Really, there's not a weak song on the album despite the near-hour length, and even songs late on the tracklisting like Out on the Road-Kill and Hole in My Soul are ripping monsters. Still relevant and still bringing the noise, Overkill are about to hit forty years of age next year and show no signs of slowing; here's hoping they have many more albums as good as this left in them.

Killing Songs :
Last Man Standing, Head of a Pin, Welcome to the Garden State, Hole in My Soul
Goat quoted 85 / 100
Other albums by Overkill that we have reviewed:
Overkill - White Devil Armory reviewed by Thomas and quoted 85 / 100
Overkill - Horrorscope reviewed by Bar and quoted 90 / 100
Overkill - The Electric Age reviewed by Thomas and quoted 96 / 100
Overkill - Killbox 13 reviewed by Thomas and quoted 78 / 100
Overkill - Fuck You reviewed by Thomas and quoted no quote
To see all 14 reviews click here
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