Album Review: OVERKILL - Ironbound
By: Navjot Kaur
Back in the early days of Feel the Fire, when tape-trading was the way to market yourself in a glam-metal dominated era, OVERKILL managed to make a name for themselves. Here on the east coast, if there was a major thrash show, chances are they were headlining it: helping to unlock the potential of thrash metal in the process. With their recent switch to Nuclear Blast Records, and 30 years of recording and performing (with the likes of fellow legendary thrash kin – MEGADETH, ANTHRAX, METALLICA) under their belt, they recently spawned out their 14th release: Ironbound.
Now, I'm no thrash aficionado, nor am I generous towards legendary bands just for having kept themselves in "the game" for a few decades; their music – in and of the present – has either got vitality, or it's dead and recycled (I'll temporarily pass on the topic of the last few SLAYER records). So, when I found myself flying through the first four tracks of Ironbound, a painless and catchy ride into heavy metal riffs, thunderous drum beats, and vocals reminiscent of Bruce Dickinson meets a higher-pitched version of Rob Halford (divine intervention must have been involved), I was pleasantly hooked.
While the riffs do get repetitive at times, and the lyrics can seem a bit uninventive, there's an immediacy to this album that draws you in – and compels you to take the full-ride through all ten tracks. Unlike the slow buildup of aggression, characteristic of older Overkill songs like "Devils in the Mist" (Immortalis, 2007), "In Vain" makes it clear that the band isn't interested in wasting anyone's time: opting instead to to kick off the song with a torrent of explosive sound that's sure to get the epinephrine surging. In "Bring Me the Night," the bass lines and catchy riffs react with generously melodic vocals to produce a track that marries the raw aggression of thrash with the upbeat spirit of NWOBHM-era bands. We can only imagine these five agèd metal dudes, rocking out in their studio with the same thrash-for-thrash's sake fervor that they had back in the day, as greasy-haired punk rock kids in the Overkill precursor otherwise known as The Lubricunts.
While Overkill is most closely regarded for its thrash outputs, Ironbound is a record that testifies their willingness to breach and redefine the sonic "standards" of the genre: having produced an album that diverges from its predecessors, yet keeps that unwavering torch for thrash burning at its core.
> Check out the new video from OVERKILL for the track Bring Me The Night.