Overkill - The Years Of Decay
Megaforce Records
Thrash Metal
9 songs (56'22)
Release year: 1989
Overkill, Megaforce Records
Reviewed by Jack
The Years Of Decay is Overkill’s first CD I bought, but Overkill’s second album, I also bought. In fact, I had bought Under The Influence on vinyl a year before. I got The Years Of Decay probably the day of it’s release and it must be one of first ten CDs that I ever bought. I suppose my mother still remembers me buying this album, because I played it so loud at home that she would get mad all the time because of D.D. Verni's great 4 & 8 string bass assaults. I know Horrorscope is probably a better album, but I prefer The Years Of Decay for two main reasons; The first one is that when Horrorscope was released, I wasn’t so much into thrash metal anymore, the second reason being that guitarist Bobby Gustafson left the band after The Years Of Decay and I really believe the band lost an essential wheel of its machinery since the chemistry of the band would never be the same. One thing that is funny though is that I never bought Under The Influence on CD although I got rid of all my vinyls years ago.

Just like someone else wrote, The Years of Decay is a classic that many metal heads were embroiled in during the late 80s and early 90s metal scene. This is indeed one of the 5 best U.S. thrash metal albums ever along with Megadeth’s Countdown To Extinction, Exodus Impact Is Imminent, Testament’s The New Order, Slayer’s Reign In Blood and Metallica’s And Justice For All. I know people will complain about my choices, but it will give an interesting forum for this review… and anyway, I am the guy in charge of this review here. In fact I see a lot of comparisons between Overkill’s The Years Of Decay and Metallica’s And Justice For All. Both are the band's fourth album, both have nine tracks and both are loaded with loud and heavy metal tracks. The only difference is how the band continued after those releases. For the sake of Overkill’s fans the band kept it thrashy instead of Metallica who went slower and heavier.

I read once that Overkill didn’t possess the songwriting skills of Metallica or Megadeth, but guys, when you listen to this album, you wonder how someone could have ever thought that. The band showed all of it’s writing potential with songs such as Nothing To Die For, Birth Of Tension, Who Tends The Fire, The Years Of Decay and the ultra heavy tribute to Black Sabbath’s Playing With Spiders / Skullkrusher. This album is collection of raging shredding tunes and doesn’t have a shadow of a filler song. It’s often mentioned as the pinnacle of the band's career and set milestone standards that the guys will never be able to achieve anymore. The Years Of Decay is indeed a brilliant and intense thrash metal masterpiece getting a bit mainstream though. Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth’s distinctive overdone vocals have never been any better although the guy has never really changed his voice over the years. D.D. Verni and Sid Falck provide an excellent rhythm section although Verni’s instrument is a little bit too prominent and weakens the sound production on this album. Bobby Gustafson’s great and last guitar work shines all though the album and creates riffs and solos of rare quality, although to my opinion none of his soloing reaches the perfection as End Of The Line. I agree when one says he was a great loss to metal, especially for Overkill.

The Years Of Decay is one of those albums you don’t listen to for years but suddenly you feel this urge to come back to it and blow your mind and your neighbours’ too at the same time. I wish everyone of you had the chance to listen to this album when it came out as I had because you cannot compare the production of recent albums with the production of this album.

Killing Songs :
Birth Of Tension, Who Tends The Fire, The Years Of Decay, Evil Never Dies
Jack quoted CLASSIC
Other albums by Overkill that we have reviewed:
Overkill - From The Underground And Below reviewed by Ben and quoted 77 / 100
Overkill - W.F.O. reviewed by Ben and quoted 85 / 100
Overkill - The Wings of War reviewed by Goat and quoted 85 / 100
Overkill - White Devil Armory reviewed by Thomas and quoted 85 / 100
Overkill - Horrorscope reviewed by Bar and quoted 90 / 100
To see all 16 reviews click here
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