The Wrecking Crew. They’ll wreck your necks, indeed.
Even if a great majority of the population of our country doesn’t even know who these guys exist, Overkill are a goddamn national treasure. There hasn’t been a metal band going over the past 30 years that puts this amount of energy and animation into a live performance. Vocalist Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth is firmly in the category of truly legendary frontmen in metal. His vocal delivery is not of a Dickinsonian or Halford-esque level, but the stage presence he brings to every show is irrepressible. From the wide array of hand gestures and poses to the ever-present mischievous cackle to the wise-ass New Jersey brand of sass and “fuck you” attitude, Ellsworth is the ultimate lovable heavy metal scamp. This version of the band is also simply a machine. You’ve got longtime bassist, DD Verni, holding down the foundation with guitarist Dave Linsk and Derek Tailer supplying a blistering amount of thrash riffs overtop. The addition of new drummer Jason Bittner has added a bit of new thunder to the sound as well. The set list was a fairly even blending of newer material off the past few albums with classics such as Rotten To the Core, I Hate, Hello From the Gutter, Horrorscope and Elimination. Go see these guys if you haven’t before. I guarantee a good time will be had.
Supporting the Mean, Green Killing Machine was New Orleans sludgelords, Crowbar, up-and-coming thrash outfit from Denver, Havok, and a thrash/speed band out of St. Louis, Black Fast.
Crowbar are another of these bands that are just an institution at this point. Thick and meaty Sabbathian riffs provided a nice counter balance to speed of the other thrash bands on the bill. Ever since Kirk Windstein dropped out of Down to refocus full-time on Crowbar, they have been very consistent in delivering top-notch sludge metal. This evening was everything that you would expect out of an abbreviated set.
Havok is definitely a band of the upswing in the metal world as evidenced by the raucous reaction the crowd gave these dudes. Maybe I’m having a get off my lawn moment and showing my age a bit, but I still think these guys have some ripening to do. There is definitely talent in this band, but their sound still feel a bit too derivative of past bands. I keep hearing Bonded by Blood by Exodus playing in my head whenever I hear Havok play. It just feels like we’ve heard these songs before. Keep plugging, guys. I think you’ve got monumental potential.
Overkill-Rotten To the Core
Crowbar-Walk With Knowledge Wisely