1. Mean, Green, Killing Machine
2. Goddamn Trouble
3. Our Finest Hour
4. Shine On
5. The Long Road
6. Let's All Go To Hades
7. Come Heavy
8. Red White And Blue
9. The Wheel
10. The Grinding Wheel
11. Emerald (Thin Lizzy Cover / Bonus Track)
With every legendary Thrash band releasing killer albums over the last few months, I wanted to see if Overkill had pulled some magic out of the bag with their new release. I've been following the band since 1996's The Killing Kind album. Overkill have often been referred to as the Motorhead of Thrash Metal. Like Motorhead, Overkill have always been consistent. You always know what you're going to get from one of their albums, and you know that they're not going to disappoint you with some ill-advised change of musical direction or a 'piss-poor' release. With Bobby "Blitz" Ellsworth's unique vocals (imagine Bon Scott with a pitbull hanging off his balls), Overkill has always been instantly identifiable, and their reputation as a trusty Metal underdog has earned them a loyal worldwide following.
The album kicks off with Mean, Green, Killing Machine which is a ripping piece of Thrash Metal. Part way through the song, it surprised me with a melodic mid section with some epic backing vocals, which then breaks down into something a little more Rock n' Roll before returning to Thrash to the finish. It's probably my favourite track off the whole album, even though it's very consistent throughout. I can't really pick out any other tracks as highlights as they all deliver the goods. There's a slightly more NWOBHM (I'd be amazed if anyone out there who is reading an Overkill review doesn't know that that stands for New Wave Of British Heavy Metal, but you never know) influence running through the album than usual. It's always been there, but is marginally more prominent, especially on Let's All Go To Hades which has some dark riffs at the start that Diamond Head would have been proud of, and the title track which has some very traditional Metal style riffing before unleashing some bursts of the ear splitting Thrash Metal that Overkill are known for.
If you're already an Overkill fan, I can hear no reason as to why you won't love this album. It does what it says on the tin. If you weren't into them before, I can't imagine that The Grinding Wheel will offer you anything to change your mind. Overkill is still Overkill and in a world where Metal is constantly evolving, sometimes it's cool to have those bands that don't change and give their fan-base precisely what they want every time.