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The truth is out there for good. Overkill may damn well be the best thrash metal band ever, without a doubt and this latest offering speaks for itself. “Ironbound” is probably their most consistent output since Horrorscope and that aint saying much. Albums like Bloodletting and Killbox 13 were definitely good but this release simply proves that Overkill have actually outdone themselves. I feel a certain level of pity for Metallica, Megadeth and Slayer, as their recent products don’t stand a chance whatsoever in front of this monster but hey, its Overkill we’re talking about right? Arguably the first thrash metal band to come into existence. Only Heathen’s yet to be released “The Evolution Of Chaos” would in all likelihood be a worthy contender to compete with this.
The biggest surprise to be found in here is the removal of most of the groove element that had become an ingredient in the band’s sound after Horrorscope. Here the music owes a lot to their eighties stuff with enough fresh ideas to making the listening experience all the more enjoyable. Blitz sounds as nasty as always and his high pitched shrieks sound as spine chilling as they have always been over the years. And what can be said about the guitar duo of Dave Linsk and Derek Tailer? These guys are simply outstanding. Their guitarwork is pure killer as their riffs and solos are basically a combination of breakneck thrash and solid traditional harmonies. They are by far the best replacements for Gant and Cannavino who themselves shone on Horroscope. D.D Verni once again proves why he’s one of the best metal bassists around. The skin pounder is yet again the veteran and former Hades drummer Ron Lipnicki and his drumwork on this album is likely to draw a lot of attention as this is some of the finest thrash metal drumming I’ve heard in a very long time.
I’m not going to spoil all the fun by reviewing each track in much detail as there are basically no fillers to be found here. Most of the songs are really fast and I am not exaggerating. This is by far the fastest the band has ever gone. The starter “The Green And Black”, the title track and also “In Vain” are absolute moshing essentials, especially the latter in which the drumwork is almost as frenzied as old school Holy Terror and Dark Angel. “Bring Me The Night” brings back some of the magical riffs from the NWOBHM scene whereas “The Head And The Heart” carries a certain vibe of the track “Overkill III” off the “Under The Influence” album in the starting riff section alongside that eerie death metal growl that kicks in when the main song starts. The starting riff of “The SRC” is quite possibly one of Overkill’s best especially with the part when the lead guitar comes in.
The most interesting aspect of this album is the mid sections of some of the songs that its almost hard to believe that this is the very same band that had almost drifted into near groove metal territory during most of their 90s career, though it would be unfair to say that they had sold out. On the other hand the guitar solos too are very stylishly done with all the dual guitar harmonies and usage of both blues and mohameddan scales. Even the groovier sections of some songs sound extremely catchy without sounding Panteraish whatsoever.
So let this be a lesson to all the newbies striving to thrash hard and rekindling the 80s thrash flame. This is how thrash should sound like. Being in existence for almost 30 years, this outfit from New Jersey continues to wave the flag of pure unadulterated thrash metal with their sheer enthusiasm, energy and the willingness to churn out quality stuff. It would be a huge shame if this album goes unnoticed in the year 2010 or thereafter, because for my money this is definitely up there on my list for “album of the year”. Overkill continues to shred!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!