Top critical review
If only they saw what was coming
on 23 November 2011
It's 1989 and thrash is pretty much dead in my opinion. The whole genre has peaked, no more landmarks like "Master of puppets" or "Peace sells..." are going to emerge from this thing. The days when up and coming thrash bands like Metallica were on MTV, half a decade before their break through are over. "Headbangers Ball" (An old heavy metal TV show on MTV which gave you current and up to the moment news and interviews with bands, for the younger ones out there) shifted with the sands as well, interviewing dozens of Soundgarden and Nirvana type bands in the 90's. Okay there was a few sparks left in the growing vacuum, one might bring up "Rust in Peace" released a year later...but I stick to my point. In 1989 thrash is dead.
And in 1989 if you're in a thrash band on a record label, that is no longer growing you're screwed. When bands like Anthrax and Metallica renewed their contracts with their record labels in the late 80's, the deal on the table was seven figures. So even if this record was a milestone, I think it was too little too late in terms of reality and the nature of the music business itself. Bobby Gustafson was probably the best thing about this band. He could write a good riff I tell you that much.
But although his riffs are good there's that age old problem I find with most thrash albums. The songs just don't step up. Why weren't the lower tier bands stepping up their game??? When the major league players release epic albums, you need to take notice. The riffs and some songs are catchy, but they're not stadium fillers. Although associated often with speed, Overkill wrote some slow chugging riffs here. I often see people say Overkill beat Pantera to the groove/thrash thing, and part of me agrees. The whole album has a "Master of puppets" inspired vibe. There is nothing wrong with that. But unlike MOP, where is the amazing production? Where are the killer songs and choruses?
Well in the end the lack of vision and the lack of will to survive, was why the majority of thrash was just forgotten and deleted from history. It's funny that seasoned thrash bands like Overkill just got left behind, but bands like Pantera would dominate the next decade. But either way I'm not one of those who lost much sleep about the whole thing, neither band were amazing in my eyes.