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Awesome Technical Thrash!! - 97%

CHRISTI_NS_ANITY8, October 19th, 2007

By the end of the 80s and the beginning of the 90s (more or less from 1988 and 1992) several thrash metal bands changed their style of doing this genre. Those bands, once more violent and raw, in those years conceived true technical thrash albums. For example, let’s think to Metallica's “…And Justice For All”; Megadeth’s “Rust In Peace”; Forbidden’s “Twisted Into Form”; Artillery’s “By Inheritance”; Heathen’s “Victims Of Deception” and many, many others…and surely Overkill belong to this list. Maybe it’s considered the dying period for thrash because the very first death metal bands started to born, but all those albums are, in my opinion, true masterpieces.

Overkill’s album “The Years of Decay” is quite different from their past ones. As I said, it’s far more technical but it is also far more gloomy. In those years seems that “the light of the day”, the insane violence that characterized the very first thrash albums has a bit gone away for a more mature lyrics and music. Sadness, wars and social problems are now the main themes for those bands; like in several others, less technical but anyway more mature (Slayer). In this album Overkill are able to recreate in the music scenarios of desolation, criminality, depression and obscurity typical of a big city (New York for them), giving something new.

The violence shown in several years is more “focused” and filtrated through technique, without loosing anything in impact and even growing in interest and attraction. The guitars riffs are still fast, but with lots of tempo changes, followed by a better drum work; more mature but always crushing, always THRASH. The production is what I consider “The best one for thrash metal”: clean, powerful and gloom. Already from the opener we can hear a quite new style of thrash: so obscure with the mid tempo. Bobby's screams are fantastic and after few seconds a true fucking heavy riff takes dominion with a bit faster mid tempo. The technical level is high and the form of the song is always catchy, especially in the refrain.

The songs are always long and quite complicated in their riffs. The work done by the drums-bass-guitars is always perfect and quite difficult. The ghosts of the more direct thrashy sound can be found in “Elimination” song with that awesome guitars solos and some speed metal riffs. The refrain is always catchy as fuck. Some breaks, so gloomy and slow are the new way taken by the band, like the beginning of “I Hate” (that then becomes a true old style song) or the supreme mid tempo from hell of “Playing With Spiders/Skullcrusher”. Bobby’s vocals are always schizophrenic and truly a trademark.

The strange and progressive guitars work on “Nothing To Die For” fits perfectly with faster drums while “Birth Of Tension” is total impact of technical thrash. Fast bass drum during the refrain alternated to heavy mid paced riffs. The guitar arpeggios on “Who Tends The Fire” are mixed with the gloomy sound of a distorted guitar, suffocated by a true march done by instruments. The refrain is fucking gloom and slow while the whole song is mid paced, except for the solos part. The arpeggios on the semi ballad title track are awesome in his extreme sad melody and “E.vil N.ever D.ies” after an acoustic intro of a dark melody is a fast thrash song. Here the technical level is even higher because it is mixed with speed. During the refrain we can hear an acoustic arpeggio too, done so fast in few seconds, between the electric guitars parts.

Well, I have to stop my review. I can only say: “Buy this fucking album!!” and you are gonna love it for sure. I think this is the true Overkill peak in songwriting, technique and inspiration. A must for every die hard thrash metal fan.