OVERKILL’S IRONBOUND AND THE THRASH METAL CIRCLE OF LIFE
I guess some metal dudes are annoyed by neo-thrash metal bands like Warbringer, Mantic Ritual, and Municipal Waste. No scene is fun for everyone, so whatever, to each his own and all that. But even if Whorebanger, Spandex Ritual, and Munificent Waste make music of no appeal to your fun-hating ear, frankly, I still insist that you acknowledge their value to metal as a genre. First, each makes music that sounds like five guys making music, which feels great when you’re overwhelmed by metal that sounds like the universe collapsing onto itself (SYL, Emperor), a jet landing in your eye socket (Hate Eternal, Minus’ Jesus Christ Bobby), or mankind’s overthrow by fridge-raiding Nazi robots from the future (Fear Factory). Of course, I love that enormity in metal, especially when it’s the expression of an awareness of Earth’s microscopic significance in the universe. But sometimes it’s more fun to just rock out with a bunch of heshers. That’s good thrash metal. It sounds great at the beach.
And a second and unexpected side effect of neo-thrash’s artistic and commercial successes is their impact on other metal bands. This is all conjecture and surmise, but Municipal Waste’s records are big winners, and now we got a goddamn fucking D.R.I. reunion tour to enjoy. And isn’t it reasonable to conclude that Warbringer’s success would provide a shot of confidence and vigor to elder thrash bands, like fucking awesome Overkill? If you’ve heard their excellent 238th record, Ironbound, you know it’s all energetic and snappy metal (normal for them), but also that it’s their most unabashedly thrashy record in forever. And few deserve wallet-love as much as Overkill, who, contrary to their name, exemplify the unpretentious hesher approach. (See The Years Of Decay‘s “I Hate” which features gang vocals that sound like six dirtballs hollering out the back of a van, not a million-strong army of angry mutant outcasts, like say “Hook In Mouth” by Megadeth.) Big sales or not, Overkill did their part and made a metal record to be reckoned with. For this, we can thank the best neo-thrash bands and fans. For the best parts of neo-thrash, we can thank Overkill.