|It's been a long road for Overkill. With 2005 marking the 20 year anniversary of their first record deal signing, and 14 full length studio albums under their belt, they have seen and done it all and are still creating high quality thrash metal music.
When you think of the New York/New Jersey thrash/metal scene of the 80's and 90's you think of bands like Anthrax, Biohazard, Carnivore and Nuclear Assault. These bands were known for being down to earth. The kind of people you would expect to meet on the street or at a bar. Overkill are no exception. These New Jersey natives have always been the definition of "blue-collar" thrash metal, and they continue to present high-quality, no-frills, solid working-class thrash on their latest album ReliXIV. "We're the real deal, and always have been. We feel that we have a common ground with our fans and we understand where they are coming from and in turn they understand us" says vocalist Bobby "Blitz" Ellsworth.
ReliXIV is entirely self-produced by the band. "We've been putting out records for a while now and we've been paying attention. By now, we know how to do it ourselves," says Blitz. "We wanted a dirty sound. We don't want something that is over-produced. I think that in 2005, less can be more, it's performance vs. process." Indeed, Overkill are masterful when it comes to bringing their live ferocity to the recording studio. "We just push the record button and it all comes out. We try to bring the same attitude to the record as we do on stage"
The core creative team of Ellsworth and bassist D.D. Verni has kept Overkill rolling fast and hard for over 20 years. "D.D. builds the house and I put the roof on" says Blitz. "When you listen to an Overkill record, you can recognize the band before I even open my mouth. I just put the icing on the cake."
In regard to the metal scene and image today, Blitz says "I've always thought the devil is more dangerous when you can't recognize him. Metal is extreme, the more the better, but you have to do it tastefully." Overkill live up to their own standards, rather than mimicking and following in others' footsteps: "We are a listening band. We are always aware of what else is going on in the music world, and I'm sure it influences us, but we have to make ourselves happy, and do what we think is best. Change in music is a good thing and this record is about where we're headed and where we've been. It's introspective and personal. I'm not trying to make a big political statement, just saying what I feel."
With the closing track "Old School," Overkill's ode to their early days in the business, it becomes clear that this band have paid their dues and still know how to enjoy themselves. Blitz says, "We actually got (hard rock radio personality) Eddie Trunk and George Parente, who used to manage us and ran L'amours (the infamous club in Brooklyn that helped put Overkill on the map) to appear on that song. It's about where we started. It takes us back to our punk rock days. I remember pogo-ing to the Ramones before I was stage diving with Slayer." This nod to their past has always been a part of Overkill: building something new, while never abandoning what they already have built. "We have made an unwitting, unknowing progression without forgetting our roots."