Overkill won't make the metal hall of fame on the first ballot, but it is one of the most enduring thrash bands and certainly the most productive. The Jersey group has been around longer and released more records than any of the "big four" — Metallica, Megadeth, Anthrax, and Slayer.
In the late '70s, Overkill found inspiration in the punk scene surrounding New York's CBGB's, but cultivated its own sound while playing Garden State rock clubs, where it pioneered "blood metal," a powerful precursor to thrash that employed over-the-top visual elements like corpse paint and capes. By 1986, however, Overkill had ditched the cheesy theatrical elements and was now the king of metal's junior varsity. Although albums like The Years of Decay were totally solid, the band never headlined arenas.
Nevertheless, Overkill continues to flex its trademark sound: thunderhead double-kick bass drum, riffs for days, high-range vocals, and a booming adaptation of hardcore's gang vocals. In fact, Killbox 13, released in 2003, was a return to near-vintage form that completely smoked Metallica's much-hyped St. Anger.
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