THE WINGS OF WAR
Nuclear Blast Records
Release: February 22, 2019
In an age where music is available instantly and bands appear and fade just as quickly, the power and resiliency that is Overkill who’s initial social media was stuffing show flier ads under windshield wipers in the 80s, has remained as resolute as ever, and even more so.
New frontiers aren’t often conquered in the modern world of heavy metal, yet Overkill remain unfazed by the growing presence of social media, modern internet, a demand for streaming services, and a general sense of competition between the sea of other metal bands trying to make a name for themselves, today.
It’s with over 30 years under their leather belts that these New Jersey natives are prepared to unveil their latest offering: “The Wings Of War.” With 10 tracks and fifty one minutes long, their 19th full length album is the ultimate combination of sickening brutality and addictive melody. It was yet another incredible album cover design by Travis Smith that sparked the idea of what to name this next album. With 5 of the iconic Overkill winged skulls brooding powerfully around the table seemingly prepared for battle, “The Wings of War” simply rolled off the tongue.
Last Man Standing
Believe In The Fight
Head Of A Pin
Bat Shit Crazy
A Mother’s Prayer
Welcome To The Garden State
Where Few Dare To Walk
Out On The Road-Kill
Hole In My Soul
With the fresh addition of seasoned drummer Jason Bittner, Overkill is experiencing a new chemistry this time around, truly giving the record a unique feel. The writing was funneled through its familiar foundation, but now had a fresh influence and energy that inspired the entire band. “We’ve never had an identity crisis,” says frontman Bobby Blitz, “but we still like raising an eyebrow from time to time!” Morphing into the modern day and taking advantage of the convenience of technological advances, this old school group of guys utilize technology for its instantaneous qualities that help fuel their momentum, and prevent the build up of stagnant ideas.
Bobby Blitz explains: “It’s all about us. It’s the way we grew up as kids, it’s a certain attitude about the area, it’s responding to “we don’t do that where we’re from” with: “well guess what, you’re not where you’re from! You’re here, now!” The song sums up the New Jersey attitude with over 4 minutes of thrashy, punky, honest vibration, and defines Overkill , as well. With at least the next six months already blocked off for a South American tour, followed by a European Tour and U.S. Tour, Overkill are on overdrive as usual with no signs of coming to a halt. This most recent cycle has a different feel; an old formula that evolved with new life and new breath and that after all these years, still generates an exquisite power.
We start this album with ‘’Last Man Standing’’, the intro is epic and loud. This would also work great for opening shows (probably designed that way). I have seen Overkill live last year, and although I did not find their performance that memorable or impressive, I am aware that they have been in the scene for longer than I am alive. If I knew them before I had probably paid better attention… but I must have been eating or something. Track two, ‘’Believe In The Fight’’ sounds extremely similar to ‘’Last Man Standing’’ and I wonder if the whole album is going to be like this. However the breakdown is kinda epic. ‘’Head Of A Pin’’ sounds nice and oldskool, exactly the sound I expected from Overkill. ‘’Bat Shit Crazy’’ has some original parts in it, but again the same old formula. The break/bridge part is acoustic, kind of slow and feels disconnected from the rest of the song. Usually I would love such a part, but it’s just not fitting here.
Both ‘’Distortion’’ and ‘’A Mother’s Prayer’’ I do not find that special, but they’re easy to listen to. ‘’Welcome To The Golden State’’ starts with a spoken word quote, but again I can not connect it to the rest of the song (could be my problem though). ‘’Where Few Dare To Walk’’ is a great heavy and powerful track, definitely loving this one. ‘’Out On The Road-Kill’’ and ‘’Hole In My Soul’’ close the album in a way that is not impressing me either.
Overkill has been in the scene for 30+ years now, and it shows. I do have massive respect for these musicians, but this album is just not doing it for me. The music in itself is great, easy to listen to and drink beer to at a concert. All in all, I think they found a good selling formula, and just went with it.
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Bobby "Blitz" Ellsworth - Vocals
D.D. Verni - Bass
Dave Linsk - Lead Guitar
Derek Tailer - Rhythm Guitar
Jason Bittner - Drums