When most people think of thrash and speed metal they automatically envision Metallica, Megadeth, Anthrax, Slayer, and maybe Testament. Overkill should not be omitted from this list. The Years of Decay is a classic Thrash album. Decay would be the last album with guitarist Bobby Gustafson and he and Overkill shine on this one.The opening track “Time To Kill” is an aggressive tour de force with muted rhythyms paving the way for crunching power chords a la “For Whom The Bell Tolls” by Metallica. While Overkill lacks the lyrical skills of some bands “Elimination” is an honest appraisal about the concerns for AIDS in the late 80’s and a demand for a cure. “I Hate” is blood pumping anthem for the angry with a catchy, melodic opening chord sequence and teen angst chorus.Paying homage to the metal masters Black Sabbath, is “Skull Krusher” a slow, sludging mammoth tuned low enough to break glass. “The Years of Decay” is probably the only true Overkill ballad which builds to a sing along conclusion. “Who Tends The Fire” might be Overkill’s Stairway to Heaven featuring clean acoustic passages, thundering rhythyms, and electric riffs. The album ends with the blistering speed of “E.V.I.L. Never Dies” similar to Damage Incorporated.Guitarist Gustafson employs fast solos drenched with whammy bar improvisation and saturated distortion to complement the very low end of bassist D D Verni and drummer Sid Falck. Many people find vocalists Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth’s vocals irritating, but after a couple of careful listens they really do fit the music. This album is probably Overkill’s best produced and best sounding effort. The low end is perhaps too much, but the guitar work was enough to catch the attention of transcription guru Wolf Marshall who acknowledged the album as a masterpiece. Dave Mustaine recognized Overkill’s talent from the start and put them on the “Peace Sells” tour with Megadeth. This is truly a landmark thrash album.