Archive for Overkill

Wrap Up: Heavy MTL 2012

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 13, 2012 by Lightning Slim

Getting True Strong and Free up in here.

Hey all, now that there’s snow on the ground here it’s probably time I got off my ass and shared some thoughts on this year’s edition of  Heavy MTL. You know, while it’s still the same year. The 2012 edition will likely be remembered as The Year It Finally Rained, and rain it did for much of the Saturday. That didn’t stop the bands, however, and it certainly didn’t stop me and my crew from getting down and especially dirty in the mud pits of Montreal.

Into the Pit! Wait no, too old, too scary! WHAA!

Big Hit: The word of the weekend was OldSkool, with both Overkill and Suicidal Tendencies absolutely laying waste to the place before a crowd that was eager to receive their 80’s thrash offering. Both bands seemed fresh and vital, with ST in particular back from the dead with a parade of rock-solid hits.

Still Cyco.

Big Miss: Marilyn Manson was an unmitigated disaster. Sloppy play, uninterested banter, poor singing. And this from a band with one of the prime stage slots, which makes it insulting,  considering there were so many small, more interesting bands working their asses off on the same weekend.  From what I’m hearing, this unprofessional behaviour has continued, as well. Slipknot was a bit auto-pilot as well, truth be told, presenting us with a lot of clown-goes-up, clown-goes-down and a distinct lack of the same chops that captivated folks back in the day.

No pictures of those loser bands. Here’s one of Overkill instead.

Great as Expected: Gojira, Kataklysm, Cannibal Corpse. Killswitch Engage had a powerful set with new/old frontman Jesse Leach, holding audience attention even at the height of the rainstorm.

Kataklysm rocks the MTL.

Pleasant Surprise: Who knew the NWOBHM was alive and well in suburban Quebec? 80’s rockers Sword put on a clinic on the third stage, putting me in mind of Grim Reaper and Mercyful Fate. Late on Saturday, Battlecross tore up the place in front a few in-the-know folks, making it feel like a private show. Very cool.

Sword. Spooky! Psychedelic! Wrinkly!

Mo’ Canada: In addition to Sword, we had more Canuck action than ever this year, with Voivod, The Agonist, Diemonds, battle of the bands winners Hollow and many more. Hell, even old chestnuts B.A.R.F. put foot to ass for our listening pleasure. The local scene is always one of my favourite things about Heavy MTL, and this year was stellar.

Hollow. Later spotted peeling off their elaborate corpse paint in the Jagermeister Hot Tub (not kidding).

Organization Bad: C’mon, guys. Let’s talk about line-up. Here are the headliners, year by year:

2008 – Iron Maiden + Motley Crue

2010 – Rob Zombie / Korn + Slayer / Megadeth

2011 – Godsmack / Disturbed + KISS / Motorhead

2012 – System of a Down / Five Finger Death Punch + Slipknot / Marilyn Manson

It’s not what I’d call a direct decline, but does show evidence of corner cutting, as did the late arriving, inaccurate, single-page “programme”. Let’s hope we can see them lure at least one Metal God here in 2013.

Organization Good: The nuts and bolts stuff seemed well in hand, with better access to drinking water,  and more (and more interesting) foods than years previous. It rained and they gave out raincoats, so that wasn’t too shabby. Heavy MTL remains the most consistently easy festival to enter in my experience, with the journey from the subway car, lining up, scanning tickets and searching bags all taking less than 15 minutes.

Mrs. Slim did say I should get outside more.

The Vibe: As always, the best in the biz. It’s what keeps us coming back. These are our people, gathered together in an easy-going place. The fact that we have such a place and that they offer a variety of bands to enjoy and complain about is something to be celebrated.

I like to think RJD sent this after the rain.

Riff Sammiches: 5 Multi-Riff Masterpieces

Posted in Lists with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on November 7, 2012 by Lightning Slim

Welcome to the first segment in my new “Lists” category. Lists are a tried-and-true method for bloggers to put up some content when they’re a little lean on material. People also like ’em because they’re so flexible and generate discussion. After all, everyone has their own personal lists and they love to compare. I’m hoping y’all are no exception, so here we go:
We’re all here because we love a good guitar riff, and there are many ways to put them together and make songs. Some artists are stingy or minimalists, and keep their riffs sparse within the tune. Others are total riff factories and splash them about liberally. Here are five tunes made better by generous helpings of guitar goodness. And yes, of course there are more out there, probably by Tool and Machine Head, but I did want to keep things under the 9-minute mark:

5. Bolt Thrower – “Contact – Wait Out”. Featuring an unloved and unfairly judged one-off vocal performance from Dave Ingram, Honour – Valour – Pride starts off with a track featuring an entry riff, a mid-song change-up at around 3:20 and an exit riff that eventually blends with the entry. Superb.

4. Arch Enemy – “Enemy Within”. Another album starter, this time built on one of the best intros in the genre and the big debut of Angela Gossow. I always have to listen to this track twice because as beautiful as the solo section is, the rhythm guitar work underneath it is just as interesting.

3. Iron Maiden – “Powerslave” C’mon, where do you think Arch Enemy got the idea? Sure, we all know the big title riff, but the middle section has enough spare six-string in it write at least three more songs. Those were the days, no?

2. Overkill – “Gasoline Dream”. No strangers to riff largesse, Overkill often close out their records with something even more big and epic. Sometime it has to do with their Overkill-themed masterwork, sometimes not. “Gasoline Dream” is one of the stand-alones, filled with speed changes, multiple ideas and a Sabbath-influenced acoustic ending.

1. Black Sabbath – “Symptom of the Universe”. Did someone mention Sabbath? Mad drum fills! Super-stoned bouncy-bass outro! Cybernetic unicorns! Containing something for literally everyone, “Symptom” is like seven songs in one; none of which make sense and all of which are great.

Album Review – Overkill “The Electric Age” 2012

Posted in Album Reviews, Sevens to Nines with tags , , , , , on April 12, 2012 by Lightning Slim

  Overkill have always had two faces; they are capable of some very grim, dark, European-style thrash but they can also bust out road-racing, crowd surfing, beer metal when they want. Ironbound was one heavy, serious act to follow, so the band wisely decided to avoid repeating themselves and try a different approach. As a result, The Electric Age is a fun, speedy, rocktacular ride  with little pretense, and solidly entertaining throughout.

Second track “Electric Rattlesnake” is a great example of what’s going on. The base tune is a standard three-minute Motorhead/Chrome Division ditty, but Blitz and company manage to stretch it out to Purple Zeppelin size by doing what they do best: putting in more bridges than the Army Corps of Engineers. It has a loose, bar-band feel to it, which carries through to the more succinct. “Wish You Were Dead”. Other highlights include “All Over but the Shouting” and “Old Wounds, New Scars” which declares the band has “got a lotta mouth for a Jersey white boy”. Truth!

Unlike its massive, majestic predecessor, which settles in for a heavy winter drinking session, The Electric Age charges up to the bar, does a line of shots, flips off the crowd and books it. Good times. 8 out of 10 

Classic Album Review – Overkill “The Years of Decay” 1989

Posted in Album Reviews, Sevens to Nines with tags , , , , on February 14, 2012 by Lightning Slim

  The Years of Decay shares many attributes with …And Justice for All in that it’s a huge undertaking made up of the band’s highest aspirations, produced at the height of the North American thrash movement. Overkill set out to make the biggest record of their career and succeeded admirably.

This album is almost too big, too heavy and too powerful to be enjoyed in a single sitting (like that’s a bad problem to have). It’s a wheelbarrow full of long, intricate songs stacked up like riff sandwiches of Scooby-Doo proportions, aided by a whalloping, woofer-destroying mix from Terry Date. When all stringed instruments focus on the same target it can suck all the air from a room like a hypnotic smoke chamber in a cult lodge. Not that they always operate in lockstep; D.D. Verni often snatches the spotlight and carries long stretches of material on his own by laying down massive, catchy bass lines and licks. It’s impressive that he shows off his virtuosity without overstepping his place and getting Steve Harris-like in his noodling and leaving rhythm section territory. Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth delivers his banshee howl with just a hint of a lip-curling snarl as a tip of the hat towards the band’s punk roots on temper-tantrums “I Hate” and “Birth of Tension”, and exudes a world-weariness beyond his years on dirge of doom “Skullkrusher” and the album’s triumphantly melancholy title track.

Just when you think things are getting a bit too lengthy, Overkill steal a page from their better-known contemporaries by tossing in a (relatively) short, sharp, lightning fast ball of hate to close things out. “E.vil N.ever D.ies” is the perfect palate cleanser, and also (by inserting the occasional sneaky rifference) serves as a stealth entry in the band’s sprawling “Overkill Saga”.

The Years of Decay shows off Overkill at their most large and in-charge, but in the end, the momentum proved unsustainable. Bobby Gustafson would depart the band and Overkill, along with the majority of thrash, would go back underground for 20 years. In those years, however, they have continued to make music, some of it excellent, and the scene itself has not decayed at all. Thrash fans have remained fanatically loyal, and albums like this one are a big part of the reason for that loyalty and the foundation for the resurgence we see today.  8.5 out of 10

Deals & Steals – All Roads Lead to Metal

Posted in Deals & Steals with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 7, 2012 by Lightning Slim

  All over the place this time around – I really just wanted to fill up the order because I’d been looking for the Overkill so long, so I took a few chances. All prices $US, shipping $6.99.

Nomeansno – All Roads Lead to Ausfahrt $7.99. NMN is never a bad choice. Sometimes, it’s perfect.

Overkill – Under the Influence $7.99. OK’s punk/glam phase – a neat transitional record.

Cradle of Filth – Lovecraft & Witch Hearts $7.99. I got this compilation because I admire CoF’s balls-out weirdness but I can’t be arsed to pick up the whole discography.

Evanescence – Evanescence $8.99. Because I’m a masochist.

Wonder Woman $3.20 and Batman: Gotham Knight $5.10 – DC Animated selections. Because my discount coupon only worked on movies. Also, Keri Russel as Diana? I thought it was Samson who lost power with a haircut.

And the big deal:

  Lair of the Minotaur – War Metal Battle Master $6.99. Whoa. Is it Stoner Metal? Stoners aren’t this blood thirsty.

Album Review – Overkill “Ironbound” 2010

Posted in Album Reviews, Sevens to Nines with tags , , , , on March 3, 2010 by Lightning Slim

Even though I said they didn’t have it in them, I may yet stand corrected. Ironbound is quite an achievement, containing all the things we love about Overkill (lengthy thrash epics, self-mythologizing, active basslines, clever lyrics which manage to be about nothing in particular) blended with something that’s been missing from their repertoire for many years: Under the Influence.
Now, I’m not claiming that UTI is anyone’s favourite Overkill record, but it marked a certain change in the flavour of the Atlantic years, adding a bit of flashy sleaze, some brighter tones to the solos and a pinch of L.A. to the Brooklyn sound. Ironbound remains true to their last decade of ain’t-broke-don’t-fix heaviness, but with a nod of the head to the heyday of Headbanger’s Ball.
We know the band’s a riff factory par excellence, but it’s nice to see them give Linsk and Tailer some room to breathe and even get their Maiden on in parts. The emphasis here is on their confident technical mastery of the genre, and they let the fun part take care of itself. See if you can spot the breakdown from “Phantom Lord”!
Overkill have seemed reluctant to up the ante before, perhaps in the name of “being themselves”. Ironbound makes the leap, becoming their elusive grail of a record that pleases everyone without sacrificing any of the OK style. 9 out of 10

Deals and Steals: Industrial Backfill

Posted in Deals & Steals with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 8, 2010 by Lightning Slim

My Second Spin order just came in, and I wanted to share some of the awesome. The theme of this one seems to be me filling in my industrial collection, with three records each from Noise Unit and Chemlab. Real drummers lose the war against the  machines today! So here’s what I got, in order of bargainity:

Manowar – Gods of War $7.19. ’nuff said about the record, and it’s so damned expensive new.

Dimmu Borgir – In Sorte Diaboli $7.19. See above.

Overkill – Necroshine $5.59. Not their best effort, but Overkill is close to my heart, via my denim vest.

Noise Unit – Voyeur $6.39, Drill $5.59 and Decoder $6.39. I’m a total junkie for anything Leeb/Fulber, so even the fact that I know Decoder is boring and I’ve never even heard of Voyeur didn’t stop me.

Chemlab – East Side Militia $1.59, Suture $3.90 and Oxidizer $6.39. Killer price on the first one (Mortal Kombat, anyone?) the second is a remix record containing the entire 10 Ton Pressure EP and the third is one Jared put out after anyone stopped caring. I’ll be reviewing that one, as it’s a new surprise to me.

It’s a tie for my favourite deal of the bunch:

Godflesh – In All Languages $6.39. A double CD with the first being a remastered career retrospective and the second some rarities. Hard to find now (typical Earache). Great stuff from one of the heaviest bands in the world. 

Skrew – Burning in Water, Drowning in Flame $1.50. Is it good? Kind of! Is it worth a buck fitty? Definitely! The argument can be made that Skrew’s three-guitar layering echoes the big noise made by Godflesh, in a southern-fried Summer of Hate way. Who are we kidding? No industrial metal without them – Godflesh FTW!

All prices $US and I paid the big donut for shipping this time around. Online coupons, I lurve you!

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