The Grinding Thrash Wheel: Overkill make Triumphant Return to Grove of Anaheim

By Andrew Bansal

February 25th 2017, City National Grove of Anaheim, Anaheim CA: New Jersey thrash veterans Overkill released their 18th full-length studio album ‘The Grinding Wheel’ on February 10th, an album that,both in its title and musicianship, epitomizes the relentless consistency of this band. Even though Overkill is one band that never broke up or faded away, the 2010 release ‘Ironbound’ was their return to form in many ways, and through subsequent albums ‘The Electric Age’, ‘White Devil Armory’ and now ‘The Grinding Wheel’, they haven’t looked back ever since, only moving forward with each creative step. During the last 7 years they have also toured actively, doing full justice to material old and new with unwaveringly fantastic performances on stages worldwide. Currently, the band is on North American headline tour in support of the latest album, and played the Grove of Anaheim last night.

Returning to this stage for the first time since November 15 2013 when they played a show on their co-headline run with Kreator, Overkill hit the stage at 10:30 with ‘Mean Green Killing Machine’, the opening track of the new album, and this eagerly expectant crowd was set in full-speed motion as mosh pits broke out in various sections of the general admission concert hall. Not a sellout but the turnout was excellent, and certainly far better than most metal shows have seen at this venue in recent times.

Through this 90-minute set, Overkill showed that like fine wine, they continue to age well, only getting better on every tour. They succeed in achieving this because their new material is so impressive and they don’t solely rely on the classics like most of their early ’80s thrash metal peers do. Their set list only gets stronger tour after tour, and this here really was an all-killer, no-filler set.

They played three songs off of ‘The Grinding Wheel’, but the last three albums were also represented with the songs ‘The Armorist’, ‘Electric Rattlesnake’ and ‘Ironbound’, and of course there was still plenty of older songs in the set, and aside from staples like ‘Rotten to the Core’, ‘Hello From the Gutter’, ‘Elimination’, ‘Hammerhead’ and ‘Fuck You’, there were also deeper cuts like ‘Feel the Fire’, ‘Nice Day… For a Funeral’ and ‘Infectious’. The biggest surprise was the inclusion of their cover of Thin Lizzy’s ‘Emerald’, a studio recording of which features on the deluxe edition of ‘The Grinding Wheel’. Bands often record covers as bonus tracks but rarely perform them on tour, but much to the delight of fans present here at the Grove, Overkill did so and pulled it off with ease. For a band with as many as 18 albums, compiling the right set list can be the difference between success and failure, and Overkill have certainly mastered this art, even as they go on releasing new albums every 2-3 years.

Vocalist Bobby Blitz was in his element, once again proving himself as the best of the best, keeping his vocal delivery at supreme levels throughout the set, and also bringing out the full range of his unique signature stage moves and facial expressions. Powerful in his singing and entertaining to watch, Blitz also stands second to none in stage banter, spouting off lines that only he can think of. The best part? His talking voice stays on the same high pitch that dominates much of his singing. “We’ll shove so much metal down your throat that you’ll be shitting roofing nails for the next two weeks”, he yelled at one point, and they sure did.

That said, Blitz’ on-stage exploits and antics are not the only reasons to attend an Overkill show, as in D.D. Verni on bass, Derek Tailer and Dave Linsk on guitar and Eddie Garcia on drums, Blitz has four band mates that are just as great in their roles as he is at the helm. The band was collectively at the peak of its powers here, and their distinct brand of thrash was unleashed in full upon the audience. But at the same time, through Blitz’ banter and singalong tunes like ‘Hell From the Gutter’ and ‘Fuck You’, the fun aspect was also maintained just as much, which separates Overkill from the rest of the pack. Metal is often too serious, but Overkill show how to strike the perfect balance between fun and fury.

The grinding thrash wheel that is Overkill keeps moving with no signs of stopping any time soon, and only gains more strength and momentum as it goes on. Overkill is thrash, thrash is Overkill.

Related MA links:
1. “There’s Never Been an Identity Crisis regarding Who We Are”: In Conversation with Overkill frontman Bobby Blitz
2. Album Review: Overkill – The Grinding Wheel

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More photos:

Overkill set list:
01. Mean Green Killing Machine
02. Rotten to the Core
03. Electric Rattlesnake
04. Hello From the Gutter
05. Goddamn Trouble
06. Feel the Fire
07. Nice Day… For a Funeral
08. Infectious
09. Our Finest Hour
10. Hammerhead
11. Armorist
12. Emerald (Thin Lizzy cover)
13. Ironbound
14. Elimination
15. Fuck You

Remaining Tour Dates:
02/26/2017 – Mesa, AZ @ Club Red
02/27/2017 – Albuquerque, NM @ Sunshine Theater
02/28/2017 – Dallas, TX @ Trees
03/01/2017 – Houston, TX @ Scout Bar
03/02/2017 – San Antonio, TX @ Alamo City Music Hall
03/03/2017 – New Orleans, LA @ Southport Music Hall
03/04/2017 – Ybor City, FL @ The Ritz Ybor
03/05/2017 – Atlanta, GA @ Variety Playhouse
03/06/2017 – Charlotte, NC @ The Filmore Charlotte
03/07/2017 – Norfolk, VA @ NorVa Theatre
03/08/2017 – Washington, DC @ Howard Theater
03/09/2017 – Clifton Park, NY @ Upstate Concert Hall
03/10/2017 – Worcester, MA @ The Palladium
03/11/2017 – Sayerville, NJ @ Starland Ballroom