Overkill at The Academy, Dublin on March 15th 2014-17-banner

Overkill at the Academy, Dublin, 15th March 2014

They took their time.  We’re not referring to the (punctual) 8.30-ish kick-off, but to the fact that this was the first ever Irish show in Overkill‘s 34 year career.  Anyway, we won’t complain that it took them almost 20 albums and 5,000 live shows to get here, given that they produced the goods in such measure.

The show was sold out and a giddy sweaty atmosphere awaited the New Jersey band when they hit the stage with excellent show-opener Come and Get It, thus giving us some of their crunchiest riffs from the get-go.  Because this is what Overkill are all about.  Fast, furious, crunchy riffing, very traditional thrash metal – it is rock music at its most honest and energetic.

Anyone who likes or liked ’80s/9’0s thrash metal should touch base with this band again.  They never got huge. They were never more than ‘bubbling under’ the Big Four (Metallica, Anthrax, Slayer, Megadeth). But this means you can see bands like Overkill in venues as small as the Academy.  And the same goes for bands like Testament, Exodus, Sepultura, Kreator etc if and when they come to Ireland.

The gig proceeds with early classics like Hammerhead and Rotten to the Core mixed up with equally strong numbers from the latter part of their career, Electric Rattlesnake, Ironbound and Bring Me the Night. Most of the show is very speedy indeed, but Overkill also manage to show us their slower, doomier side on the likes of In Union We Stand and Horrorscope.

Musically, they are as tight as one would expect, yet still fresh.  The drumming comes on loud and fast (it takes skill to drum that fast!) but does not dominate leaving plenty of space for the the loud riffing rhythm guitar of Derek Tailer and short bursts of soloing from Dave Linsk – which are always appropriate to the song but never outstay their welcome.  The vocals occasionally come in a bit low in the mix, but are given a committed effort by high-pitched frontman Bobby Ellsworth, who like most of the band looks extraordinarily fit for his 54 years.

Overkill live up to their reputation of being an honest band who came from blue-collar roots and built their career through unbelievable quantities of touring and respect for their fans. They certainly know how to build the dynamics of a show, finishing the main set off with a blistering Elimination.

The encore is a short sharp two song effort, closing with the expected cathartic cover of a particular Subhumans’ song, the title of which we won’t print in this family-friendly website! (You’ll have to google it!)

It may have been a relatively short headline show, but the presence of two support bands – Xentrix and Shrapnel – didn’t allow for any quibbles re value-for-money.  One or two fans were heard to complain about the sound, but from the couple of vantage-points this reviewer took throughout the show (not quite risking the mosh-pit though!) it sounded fine.  With a new album mooted for March, all is well with Overkill. Let’s hope they don’t leave it so long till next time.

Overkill Photo Gallery

Photos: Shaun Neary

Xentrix Photo Gallery

Shrapnel Photo Gallery