Veteran New Jersey thrashers OVERKILL will enter the studio in the next few weeks to begin recording the follow-up to 2017's "The Grinding Wheel" album. The disc will mark the band's recording debut with drummer Jason Bittner (SHADOWS FALL, FLOTSAM AND JETSAM), who joined OVERKILL last year.
Asked in a brand new interview with The Metal Voice what fans can expect to hear OVERKILL's next record, singer Bobby "Blitz" Ellsworth said (hear audio below): "I think we caught a wave on the last four records. Part of that wave was Ron Lipnicki behind the drums, and Ron is now gone, so I don't know what to expect. But the beauty of it is that when you're inside the writing team, that's what becomes motivational.
"Now, obviously, it's gonna be a heavy metal record; we don't deviate so much from our formula," he continued. "But what is that record gonna sound like? At this point, it sounds like a metal record to me. I think Jason Bittner's addition to the band is gonna make it bombastic in some cases; he's the state of the art when it comes to hitting the skins. So I really think that we have an opportunity here to make something that is great. Who knows? It could be a new chapter, and somewhere in that realm of unknown is what excites me now."
According to Ellsworth, OVERKILL has not yet nailed down a producer for the upcoming effort. "We're in between right now," he said. "Things have changed. We already had somebody locked down, but we're not a hundred percent sure he can do it, so I'd really rather not say. We're just talking to three or four other cats. I'll tell you this: we wanted to use Andy Sneap; we thought he did a fantastic job on 'The Grinding Wheel'. But he has other commitments right now. He's filling in [for guitarist Glenn Tipton] on the [JUDAS] PRIEST tour."
As for when OVERKILL's next album will arrive, Ellsworth said: "February  is what we penciled in for the release. So that'll give us tours starting March 1st, I suppose. So February is what we're looking for. That means that we'll start [recording] drums in the next month."
Ellsworth went on to reveal that 10 songs "have been written" for OVERKILL's new album, "but they're all up for change. The way we kind of write is it evolves from a riff and then it becomes a song and then it becomes arranged," he said. "But [the songs] change as I start tearing into it. So I'm gonna say that 90 percent of the music, or the writing, for this is done, but we're gonna fuck around in each song 10 percent or so to adjust things, to make it better, to have it fit better. And when it comes to lyrics, I don't necessarily write lyrics [in the beginning]; I use phonetics, I use nonsense, I take paragraphs out of books and I start fitting them in where I'm more concerned with the vocal line. So they're topic-less when I start. They're just something I use as a template to see how it fits, to see how syllables work within the beat, to see how I fall within the groove or go on top of the groove. So I'm not lyrically complete, but I'm gonna say, at this point, 50 percent of the songs have solid ideas to continue on with."
OVERKILL will release the "Live In Overhausen" DVD and Blu-Ray on May 18 via Nuclear Blast. The set was recorded two years ago in Oberhausen, Germany, where OVERKILL celebrated the 25th anniversary of "Horrorscope" and 30th anniversary of "Feel The Fire" by performing both albums in their entirety.
"The Grinding Wheel" was released in February 2017 via Nuclear Blast. The disc was produced by OVERKILL and mixed by Sneap, who has previously worked with JUDAS PRIEST, MEGADETH, EXODUS and ACCEPT, among others. The artwork was created again by Travis Smith (NEVERMORE, OPETH, SOILWORK, DEATH).
Photo credit: Stephanie Cabral