Overkill is a seminal American thrash band forged in the hostile badlands of New Jersey. They were one of the first bands to turn the amps to eleven and play their instruments faster than a chronic masturbator with a bionic arm.
Overkill originated with the breakup of D.D. Verni's punk band The Lubricunts. While the band's name was too beautiful to live, the falling through of this early project gave Verni a chance to form a new band. Recruiting guitarist Robert Pisarek, who realised Motorhead was an awesome band and worth naming a band after, the band played covers of punk and metal bands, from The Ramones to Riot. They also, occasionally went under the name Virgin Killer during this period.
When your other name associates you more with a candidate for an FBI watchlist, you should probably go with the bitchin' song title.
Eventually, the band began to pen some original tunes, and Bobby Ellsworth answered the call for a singer. The band started to take their act out to the clubs, where they were known for partying hard, rocking the fuck out, and exploding the shriveled balls of hundreds of glam rock fans expecting to see Motley Crue and Poison.
Sure, you look absolutely fab, but what would you do if you ever ran across a riff?
Yes, before Kirk Hammett had even left Exodus, and when Metallica was still milking Dave Mustaine for riffs, Overkill were thrashing in the blasted toxic wastelands of New Jersey. A few demos emerged from this primordial mass of awesome, one of which was picked up by Metal Storm Records and pressed as 1984's infamous Overkill EP. A year after this first strike and the true assault began.
Posers are a great fuel source, by the way.
The rest is history, as Overkill mercilessly pummeled the rest of the decade with a flurry of endlessly aggressive, sometimes progressive, releases. Anyone who defines the '80s by Warrant, cherry pies, and stupid hair was just looking in the wrong places because for a while, all was good in the realm of metal.
All good things have to come to an end though, and so did the golden age of balls-out thrash metal. While a lot of the bands of the time managed to put out at least one awesome album in the first year or two of the 90s, no matter how many great records were released, there was one that was too big to be ignored, and the band that made it just too goddamn popular for people to shut the hell up about.
Yeah, thanks for that, assholes.
The face of thrash metal had finally run out of Dave Mustaine's riffs, run out of their own riffs, run out of book titles to use, and worst of all, run out of ideals. And thus this:
"Now is the time to let it rip
To let it fuckin' loose
We are gathered here to maim and kill
Cause this is what we choose"
Take my hand
We're off to never never land"
Like at least half the shitty things in the world, this was lauded for some reason. Hell, beyond lauded, it was, you might say, "Fucking HUGE" on a degree that would come to define the band and dramatically divide opinions on them. It could also be said to have started a trend of streamlining and dumbing down metal and that the album that gave us some of the most overplayed butt-rock of all time also gave us this:
I don't mean to put all the blame for the huge shitstorm that metal had to weather on Metallica though. A great deal of it can actually be traced to different band formed miles away in Dallas.
Established as a glam rock act (you can see how this might end badly), Pantera began to change their sound in the late 80s after a series of fateful meetings involving Slayer and Metallica. While they probably had the best of intentions, namely to be faster and heavier than their hair band days, they kind of got lost along the way and forgot about the 'faster' part, and came up with an innovative way to slack on the 'heavier' end by just making their guitars sound like a turd plopping in a porcelain bowl. Instead of discernable riffs as such, they opted to simply plod around with two notes and occasionally jiggle them around with some reverb. Thus, groove metal was born. If you remember a couple of paragraphs ago, I mentioned how at least half of the shitty things in the world are inexplicably loved by just about everyone. Groove metal, and Pantera by extension, are indeed loved. While this could perhaps be explained by the accessiblity of the music compared to the denser, more agile soundscapes of a lot of metal genres, it's inexplicable how people figure simpler, dumber, and generally pussier (it's a word, dammit!) music is better. But I digress, the point is, these were the new trends of the time, and they struck the old guard of bands hard, especially the thrash bands. Pretty soon endless riffs and poser killing became two riffs and Pantera fellatio. Good albums gave way to these:
And so on. So, in light of this massive dumbing down of the genre, how could a band like Overkill, who as a thrash band were at the highest risk of contracting this musical AIDS, survive?
Because they're fucking Overkill!
While their contemporaries were busy being pussies, Overkill kept on keepin' on.
To: Pantera, From: Overkill
1993's I Hear Black did mark a turning point for Overkill to be sure. The songs were more midpaced, the production was inexplicably terrible, and some even accused it of selling out to the groove. The next album proved conclusively, though, that those jive turkey's be crazy. Overkill had just gone on to find a new sense of rhythm, UH YEAH!
When you see this tag, you know you're in the worst neighbourhood. Or is it the best?
To make a long story short, Overkill have continued to be awesome in the face of various horrible trends to this day, with 14 studio albums, 2 live albums, 2 DVDs and a cover album under their belt. Their latest album is called Ironbound (with Raped by Sonics coming in a close second) and due for release in January 2010. Real scientists with real degrees predict that this, in combination with the release of the new Heathen album in the same month will cause the apocalypse to occur a little ahead of schedule.