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Overkill


Thrash Metal is known for carnage - and rightly so. During Overkill's lengthy existence numerous guitarists and drummers have come and gone (see above) with only vocalist Bobby "Blitz" Ellsworth and bassist D.D. Verni going the distance. Though the New Jersey group began in '80, as a Punk covers band, their break-through came on their fourth album, '89's "The Years Of Decay," which ironically turned out to be the last album with guitarist Bobby Gustafson's. He and Verni clashed over the group's direction. Ellsworth sided with Verni and Gustafson got the boot. More than a few wondered whether Overkill would survive the loss of their primary songwriter - to say nothing of Gustafson's guitar work.

Oddly though, during a couple of times in their career, Overkill seemed to benefit from personnel changes. Rob Cannavino, who had been Gustafson's guitar technician, and Merritt Gant, a veteran of the Jersey thrash scene, were added for what many saw as the group's crowning achievement, their fifth album, "Horrorscope." But band member turnover was still evident. The '91 set was the last for drummer Sid Falck.





Jumping to '95, Cannavino left to race motorcycles and Gant focused on his family. So Overkill landed Joe Comeau, a one-time lead singer turned guitarist. He brought along his former Anvil bandmate, guitarist Sebastian Marino. The '96 album "The Killing Kind," with backing vocals by Comeau, was another high point. But Comeau eventually left to front Annihilator and Marino departed following '99's "Necroshine" to spend more time at home. Hey guys, you are Rock musicians, what's with the family ties?

Despite the departures, or maybe because of them, and the occasional shift in musical direction, Overkill issued their fifteenth full-length studio album, "Ironbound," in '10. The group, once signed to Atlantic Records, had this one released on Nuclear Blast Records, as part of a multi-album deal.

Following the release of "The Electric Age" Overkill embarked on The Dark Roots of Thrash tour. But they had to drop out due to Ellsworth's "walking pneumonia."

The set-back was not long term. Overkill's next album "White Devil Armory," a '14 release, peaked at #31 on the Billboard 200, earning their highest chart position to date.

During the supporting trek for the box set "Historikill: 1995-2007," the group announced that drummer Ron Lipnicki would miss the European leg due to a family emergency. He was replaced by Eddy Garcia. That proved to be the short-term solution.

Shortly after the arrival of "The Grinding Wheel," Overkill's eighteenth studio effort, the group announced that Jason Bittner was Lipnicki's permanent replacement. Bittner had been in Shadows Fall since '02.


Overkill Discography

Overkill Discography:

1985 Feel The Fire
1987 Taking Over
1988 Under The Influence
1989 The Years of Decay
1991 Horrorscope
1993 I Hear Black
1994 W.F.O.
1996 The Killing Kind
1997 From The Underground And Below
1999 Necroshine
2000 Bloodletting
2003 Killbox 13
2005 ReliXIV
2007 Immortalis
2010 Ironbound
2012 The Electric Age
2014 White Devil Armory
2015 Historikill: 1995-2007 (box set)
2017 The Grinding Wheel

It would be tempting to dismiss Overkill as some East Coast Iron Maiden wannabes. Just as Maiden has their mascot "Eddie," Overkill features "Chaly," a skeletal bat with a skull-like face, bony wings, and green eyes who appears on most of their album covers. But Overkill has their own unique twists.

"The Years Of Decay" and "Horroscope" are the group's best work. The former has the blasting "Time To Kill," "Elimination" and "Playing With Spiders/Skullrusher." There's also some furious fretwork on "Nothing To Die For." The latter features "Blood Money," one of Overkill's premier tracks, "Infectious" and a cover of the Edgar Winter Group's "Frankenstein." This version rips the original. "The Killing Kind" with "Battle" "Cold, Hard Fact" and "Bold Face Pagan Stomp" is just a notch below.




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