One of the most ferocious metal tours that will hit the road in 2017 pummeled City National Grove in Anaheim on Saturday night February 25 as New Jersey thrash masters Overkill are out supporting their recent release and 18th studio album The Grinding Wheel along with direct support from Nuclear Blast label mates and death-metal titans Nile. This one-two punch of extreme music first pummels you with blast beats and death metal growls then breaks your neck with galloping old school thrash!
Three local bands started the night off at 7:30pm with some punk vigor from Toxic Energy, brutal thrash from Invader then some black metal from Empyrean Throne with the standout of the three being Invader. A thrash band from Los Angeles, this three piece machine pounded through some evil thrash then suddenly you felt as if Slayer was onstage due to the uncanny vocal resemblance to Tom Araya during the Slayer cover “Alter of Sacrifice” and come to find out vocalist/guitarist Sean Baumgartner is actually Araya’s nephew. Along with drummer Jesus Galvan Jr and bass player Matt Thompson this is a band to watch.
There was a buzz in the air about Nile’s performance as just prior to the start of this tour in early February, it was announced that longtime vocalist/guitarist Dallas Toler-Wade had left the band. A very immediate replacement was announced in Brian Kingsland of the black metal band Enthean to replace Toler-Wade. Even though Nile had about a dozen shows under thier belt with Kingsland, this would be the first time Southern California was to witness this new lineup and without a doubt the show turned out much better than expected as Kingsland is the perfect addition to the band.
Opening the set with “Sacrifice Unto Sebek”, Anaheim got to see and hear Kingsland’s vocals immediately and he did not disappoint. Trading off vocals with founding member Karl Sanders the band sounded better than ever. Bass player Brad Parris’ vocal role increased quite a bit as well as a result of Toler-Wade’s departure, so now Nile has a triple death metal vocal attack that only adds to the brutality of their delivery. The band plowed through recent setlist regulars such as “Kafir!” and “Hittite Dung Incantation” as the circle pits and crowd surfing intensified as the set went on. And you can’t mention Nile without the in-human, machine gun drumming of George Kollias who is undoubtedly one of the fastest drummers on the planet. Ending their set with “Black Seeds of Vengeance”, Nile proved that they are as brutal as ever and if anything, a stronger, tighter death metal machine going forward.
At 10:30pm the lights went dark and Overkill hit the stage with a relentless energy that lasted their entire 90 minute set. Without a doubt one of the most consistent yet underrated thrash bands in existence, Overkill are at the top of their game some 30+ years into their career. Vocalist Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth catapulted onto stage and blasted into “Mean, Green, Killing Machine” off their 2017 release The Grinding Wheel and had the fans in attendance in a circle pit frenzy for the duration. A heavily backlit stage with lots of green lights and pulsating strobes, the band took Anaheim on a classic thrash journey that galloped through some of their biggest and baddest hits. Ellsworth’s high pitched vocals sounded fresh and spot on and his stage presence is huge with his constant movement, hand gestures and facial expressions.
Fellow original Overkill member, bassist D.D. Verni contributed his gang vocals as well as his huge, thick, thumping bass lines, which is one important ingredient that makes Overkills sound so big. With the lineup stable over the last 12 years, it’s obvious this band is a well-oiled machine with the dual guitar attack of Dave Linsk and Derek Tailer along with the ultra-dynamic drumming of Eddy Garcia who you could barely see behind his massive kit.
With not only The Grinding Wheel, but all their albums since 2010 (Ironbound, The Electric Age and White Devil Armory), Overkill’s new music can stand right up against any of their classic songs as over time they have only gotten better, faster and more brutal with age. Ellsworth’s in between song banter is filled with humor, jokes and phrases that you will hear nowhere else and his high voice along with extreme enthusiasm make it that much better. Song highlights included “Hello from the Gutter”, a new song “Goddamn Trouble” and a really cool Thin Lizzy cover of “Emerald”.
The night ended with a 1,2,3 bang that included “Ironbound” and “Fuck You” which bookended their most brutal song and possibly one of the best thrash songs of all-time “Elimination”. Overkill grinds across the USA and ends their current tour on March 11 in their home state of New Jersey.
Mean, Green, Killing Machine | Rotten to the Core | Electric Rattlesnake | Hello From the Gutter | Goddamn Trouble | Feel the Fire | Nice Day… For a Funeral | Infectious | Our Finest Hour | Hammerhead | Armorist | Emerald (Thin Lizzy cover)
Encore: Ironbound | Elimination | Fuck You (The Subhumans cover)
Sacrifice Unto Sebek | Defiling the Gates of Ishtar | Kafir! | Hittite Dung Incantation | The Fiends Who Come to Steal the Magick of the Deceased | In the Name of Amun | Sarcophagus | Black Seeds of Vengeance
Overkill Photo Gallery
Nile Photo Gallery
Invader Photo Gallery