For a lot of the 2000s, Overkill’s output went rather stale, as they released four mostly forgettable albums in a row. 2010’s Ironbound would see the end of that, and while some still can’t get into anything post-‘90s, every record from then on out would prove to at least have some amount of character. 2015’s White Devil Armory would stand out substantially, and while 2017’s The Grinding Wheel was a pretty solid release, it was overshadowed by the greatness of White Devil Armory. That brings us to the newest effort, The Wings Of War.
Although The Wings Of War is no Taking Over, it absolutely delivers and lives up to the momentum that album opener and the first single “Last Man Standing” generated. That song is built on slow, suspenseful rhythms that drop everything and kick the riff into overdrive, and Blitz immediately dishes out attitude. For the most part, it drills thrashy breakdowns deep into the surface allowing for the speedier melodies to taper off into slower, stomping riffs.
There are also a lot of memorable ploys that capture a reachable mood, preventing the songs from blending together. “Welcome To The Garden State” induces an upbeat tempo while remaining true to the flow and heaviness. To add icing onto what’s already a delicious cake, this tune ends with a surprising shout out to Bruce Springsteen’s “Born To Run” with the song’s exit. Of course, you can still find the tracks that have classic written all over them, like “Batshit Crazy.” Picture a barbaric delivery that throws back to the older albums, but without the level of looseness. The production here makes the overall output even tighter.
The passages that reflect the ideas presented in “Last Man Standing” are dispersed throughout the whole disc, making the stream of consistency last for the entire run-time. “Believe In The Fight” combines the thrash attitude with the booming thickness by giving DD Verni’s bass lines stronger precedence. Without a doubt, there are songs that could have been dropped and serve little purpose by being either too generic sounding or simply forgettable. Much to my relief, they are few and far between, and thus forgivable.
Nowadays, I never really know what to expect from Overkill. Typically the singles lay out the template ahead of time, and I’m seldom disappointed. I can say with complete confidence The Wings Of War exceeded my expectations, with two of the songs (“Last Man Standing” and “Welcome To The Garden State”) being in my top ten tracks they’ve done in twenty years. This is very much worth your time, and the blander moments are easy enough to get through.
The Wings Of War came out on February 22nd, 2019 through Nuclear Blast, and can be found on the website in CD, multiple vinyl pressings, and cassette. There’s a solid chance that your local music distributor also has some.