Overkill’s fourth album, The Years Of Decay (1989), is by far their best album. For starters, Overkill are one of the greatest thrash bands ever, and over the years, they have stayed true to their original style, which is always a good thing. This album is punishingly heavy, and it features some of the best thrash songs ever written. First off, one of the key parts of this album is the musicianship, which has notably evolved over the years. Vocalist Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth is freakin’ crazy, I wish that the band I’m in, which is yet to be named, could have a singer like him. Guitarist Bobby Gustafson is insane, he can shred like nobody’s business, and he can also blast out some great melody solos. Bassist D.D. Verni is awesome, one of the better thrash bassists, but no Cliff Burton. Drummer Sid Falk rocks, he can play super fast or moderately slow.
Now, the tunes on the album:
1. “Time To Kill”; Starts off a bit slow, but turns into another punishing opener, which is what thrash albums should always have.
2. “Elimination”; Definetely my favorite song on the album, the first time I heard it, I almost snapped my neck.
3. “I Hate”; Boy, if there was ever a song to play when you want to rip someone’s head off, this is it!
4. “Nothing To Die For”; Another brutal one, always good. Killer solo.
5. “Playing With Spiders/Skullkrusher”; Perhaps if this song were a bit faster, it might not be my least favorite track on the album, but it still is great, and it does speed up quite a bit in the middle. Basically, an epic dirge.
6. “Birth Of Tension”; Another song that is useful when you want to rip someone’s head off.
7. “Who Tends The Fire”; Overall, it almost sounds like the classic Metallica instrumental “Orion” with vocals mixed in. Very cool.
8. “The Years Of Decay”; Interesting tune: an opening very reminiscent of Queensryche, and then in the middle it has a brutal breakdown, then finishes the way it began.
9. “E.Vil N.Ever D.Ies”; Ha, get it? E.N.D.! And a great one at that!
This is an incredible album, check it out if you like any of Overkill’s other albums, or other thrash bands, like old Metallica, Slayer, Anthrax, Pantera, Megadeth, Voivod, Flotsam And Jetsam, S.O.D., Forbidden, Testament, Exodus, Dark Angel, Atrophy…well, you get it. Also, if you go to Metal-Rules.com, you’ll notice that on their list of the top 100 metal albums of all time, this one is number 77. Overall, that seems lackluster at first glance, but when you think about the fact that there have been thousands upon thousands of metal albums, that’s extremely good. Rock on, fellow headbangers! m/