Over the span of 25 years, thrash metal's working class heroes, OVERKILL has yet to disappoint. With the exception of (in my opinion) "I Hear Black", these Jersey natives have done nothing but kick ass and bang heads for the last quarter of a century. You've really got to respect a band like OVERKILL. They've never gone through any artistic phases of experimentation, lackluster attempts to reach a mainstream audience or relied on their legacy to keep the name going. What they have done, however, is unleash a wealth of tried and true, bullshit-free, get-yer-fist-in-the-air-and-yer-ass-in-the-pit thrash metal upon the sweaty masses. The turn of the century has seen the intensity taken up a few notches with barnstormers like "Bloodletting", "Killbox 13", "ReliXIV" and the crushing "Immortalis". While that fearsome foursome of releases boasted enough muscle to spearhead the thrash resurgence on their own, we all knew that OVERKILL wasn't done with us yet and these Jersey devils have once again outdone themselves; and everyone else out there in the process.
Discussion amongst friends and colleagues have all led to one nearly unanimous conclusion; "Ironbound" is one of, if not the most ripping collection of tunes this legendary act has laid to tape. The beauty part of it all is that this is no glorious comeback or career saving return to form. These dudes just keep getting better with age. Greeted with D.D. Verni's classic, rubbery bass tone and a bit of melodious guitar work, "Ironbound" comes out swinging with eight-minute opus, "The Green And Black". A galloping and raging lesson of all that is OVERKILL, this is a song that demonstrates everything that's right with thrash metal. Cut-throat riffing, tempos that feel like a dragster that could fly off the track at any minute, bedlam-fueled hooks galore and a mid-section ripe with fiery lead work. Sliding into the equally crushing, but even catchier title track, the intensity doesn't let up an iota. Were it not for the clean guitar and semi-bluesy solo halfway through the song, the band would have had to offer a neck brace with each copy. The longest-running guitar team in OVERKILL's history, Dave Linsk (ten years strong now) and Derek Tailer (eight years) has graduated magna cum lade from the DD Verni school of songwriting and supply a plethora of insta-classic thrash riffs and sinister melodies on this album. The MOTÖRHEAD-on-nitrous riffing on "Bring Me The Night" and vintage thrash of "Endless War" and "Killing For A Living" are album highlights in their own right.
Of course, when you think about OVERKILL, the first thing that comes to mind is the name Bobby Blitz. The years haven't dulled Blitz's razor-sharp tongue a bit; if anything his vocal venom is more potent than ever. One of metal's all-time greats, Blitz's trademark snarl and penchant for creating infectious vocal hooks are the frosting on this concrete-baked cake. Hell, we even get a bit of "Years Of Decay" era screams and wails scattered throughout the album's ten tracks.
From the very first note of "The Green And Black" to the pummeling closer "The SRC", "Ironbound" is non-stop thrash mastery. Even the weaker moments, the few that exist, are still of the highest caliber where this brand of metal is concerned. In many ways "Ironbound" harkens back to the days of "Years Of Decay" and "Horrorscope", yet remains consistent with the more modern approach taken on recent efforts. The important this is, no matter how you slice it or what you call it, the end result is still OVERKILL and as always, it kicks ass.