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Author Topic: Overkill  (Read 4421 times)
ZonedWithinRage
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« on: July 14, 2007, 08:21:12 pm »

Early days
Overkill was formed in 1980 from the ashes of the punk band "The Lubricunts", featuring D.D. Verni and Rat Skates (real names Carlo Verni and Lee Kundrat). D.D. wanted to quickly form a new band, so he put out a classified ad which was answered by vocalist Bobby Ellsworth. Bobby was mainly a bass player at the time, but in the new band he would concentrate solely on vocals. He brought with him a guitarist from his former punk/classic rock cover band, and after rejecting several names, including "Virgin Killer", the band finally settled on Overkill, naming themselves after the legendary Mot????rhead album of the same name.

Early covers, especially those done under the "Virgin Killers" name, were punk songs by The Ramones, The Dead Boys and others. By late 1980, the band had recruited dual guitarists, and the setlist was made up of songs by bands such as Mot????rhead ("Overkill", half of the Ace Of Spades album), Judas Priest ('Tyrant' was their closer), and Riot. Along with the new influx of heavy metal covers, the band still played a smattering of punk covers, with extra distortion, intensity, and speed, marking Overkill as one of the first thrash bands.

In 1981, guitarists Rich Conte and Bobby Gustafson joined the band. At this point, the band started writing original songs, including "Grave Robbers" (later renamed "Raise The Dead"), "Overkill", and "Unleash The Beast (Within)". More songs would follow, including "Death Rider" (1981) and "Rotten To The Core" (1982). In 1983 Rich left and Bobby Gustafson remained as the sole guitarist. The band became a staple at New York and New Jersey clubs, such as L'Amours, and D.D. gave Bobby the nickname "Blitz" due to his over-the-top lifestyle, a lifestyle that once earned Bobby an ejection from the band for a few days in 1983. Around this time, the classic green logo was adopted, which was specifically designed to stand out on a poster loaded with red and black logos of other bands on the bill.
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ZonedWithinRage
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« Reply #1 on: July 14, 2007, 08:22:00 pm »

The Bobby Gustafson era
In 1984, what is now considered the "classic" lineup of Blitz, Verni, Gustafson and Skates, released the Power In Black demo, a recording that made as much impact in the underground tape trading circuit as demos by up-and-coming Bay area thrash bands like Exodus and Testament. Power In Black gained the band two compilation appearances, 'Feel The Fire' was included on "New York Metal '84" and 'Death Rider' appeared on volume V of the legendary Metal Massacre series. The band was also able to secure a small recording deal with Azra/Metal Storm Records that resulted in the 1984 four track EP Overkill, that quickly sold out, instantly pushing the band to the forefront of the fledgling thrash metal movement. Though it is said that the band never saw any money from the release, the Overkill EP garnered the band massive underground interest, and the attention of Jon Zazula, the owner of Megaforce Records, one of the most prominent independent heavy metal record labels at the time. Megaforce signed Overkill to a new multi-album record contract and released their full length debut album Feel The Fire in 1985. Hailed by many critics and fans as a thrash metal masterpiece, the album cemented the band's position as one of the driving forces of east coast thrash movement. The band spent the better part of 1985 and 1986 touring in support of Feel The Fire, beginning as support act for Megadeth's "Peace Sells" US tour and later in Europe with Anthrax and Agent Steel.

1987 marked the release of Overkill's second album Taking Over, the first to be released by Megaforce in cooperation with the major label Atlantic Records. The album featured improved song writing and production and had a somewhat more epic style, showcased in such songs as the anthemic "In Union We Stand". The song was chosen to be Overkill's first music video, used to promote the band through the booming new medium of music television. Another European tour followed, this time opening for Helloween.

Late in 1987, the !!!Fuck You!!! EP was released, consisting of a studio recording of 'Fuck You' (a cover song, written by The Subhumans in 1978) as well as a handful of live tracks recorded earlier that year in Cleveland. 1987 also saw the departure or drummer Rat Skates, who left due to touring stress and the pressures of the road. He was replaced by Mark Archibole for a few gigs, and then on a permanent basis by European drummer Bob "Sid" Falck, previously of Paul Di'Anno's Battlezone.

Overkill released the follow-up to Taking Over, the aptly titled Under the Influence, in 1988. Once again produced by Alex Perialas, Under the Influence was much more raw and thrashy, lacking most of the grand and epic atmosphere of its predecessor. Suffering from rushed writing and production, the album is often regarded as a snapshot and a step backwards for the band. The song "Hello From The Gutter" was released as a single, and the music video gained regular airplay on MTV's Headbangers Ball. Overkill kept up constant touring all over the world, furthering their reputation as one of the most active live metal bands.

Overkill released their breakthrough album The Years of Decay in 1989, recorded with famed producer Terry Date (Pantera, White Zombie, Soundgarden). Featuring the bands best production to date, the album mixed the raw approach of "Under The Influence" with more complex song structures and epic elements, resulting in a more serious atmosphere and longer songs, including the eight minute title track and the ten minute "Playing With Spiders/Skullkrusher." The uptempo thrasher "Elimination" was released as a single, and the music video again received regular airplay on MTV's Headbangers Ball. The song became a fan favorite, and would be played live at every show, even 15 years later. Live support for The Years of Decay took place in part with a tour called "Dawn Of The Decade" together with label mates Testament.
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ZonedWithinRage
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« Reply #2 on: July 14, 2007, 08:22:24 pm »

The Gant/Cannavino era
In 1990, guitarist and songwriter Bobby Gustafson left the band. Verni and Gustafson had long locked horns over the direction of the band, and in the end Blitz sided with Verni, asking Gustafson to leave Overkill. The remaining members added two new guitarists to the band; Rob Cannavino who had been Gustafson's guitar technician, and Merritt Gant; from the New Jersey thrash band Faith Or Fear.

The 'new' Overkill recorded their fifth album Horrorscope, again with Terry Date, in 1991. Featuring the furious riffs and trade off solos of new guitarists Cannavino and Gant, and the refined songwriting of Verni and Ellsworth, Horrorscope quickly silenced fan fears that the loss of a chief songwriter would ruin the band. Today, the album is widely regarded as one of the Overkill's defining moments, and is arguably their heaviest release. Focusing on a darker, heavier style, the album spawned the doomy single "Horrorscope", a departure from the bands earlier singles, which had traditionally been uptempo songs. The band continued to tour constantly, fully cementing their reputation as one of the premier live bands of the genre.

In 1992, during the Horrorscope tour, Sid Falck left the band. Admittedly never a big fan of thrash metal music, Sid said that he had initially wanted to push his drumming to the limit by playing the most complex type of music (of the era), and in time he decided to pursue other musical interests.

Sid was replaced by M.O.D. drummer Tim Mallare, with whom the 1993 album I Hear Black was recorded. Produced by Alex Perialas (Anthrax, Testament), I Hear Black was the first Overkill album released directly through Atlantic Records. The album once again presented a change in style, from the up-tempo thrash of Horrorscope to a more Stoner, song oriented style, influenced by Black Sabbath and Blues. The eclectic nature of the album is often attributed to the fact that many different song writers were involved. Verni and Ellsworth would handle most of the song writing themselves on subsequent albums, with only minor contributions from the other members. A music video was shot for "Spiritual Void" but failed to receive much airplay. The European leg of the 1993 "World Of Hurt Tour" featured Savatage and Non-Fiction as support acts.

Overkill's self-produced seventh album W.F.O. (which stands for "Wide Fuckin' Open", a common biker term) was released in September 1994 as an answer to the criticism that I Hear Black had received. The album presented a fast, heads-down, old school thrash metal style without any of the experimental elements present on the previous record. The music video for "Fast Junkie" was widely ignored by MTV, due to changing mainstream tastes and limited airplay availability for metal bands. Overkill continued to have bigger success overseas, mounting an extensive European tour in the fall, supported by Jag Panzer and Massacra.

With Grunge dominating the airwaves in the US, and many heavy metal radio stations changing formats, W.F.O. failed to find an audience, and in 1995 Overkill was dropped by Atlantic Records. Overkill were happy to be let go from the mainstream label, where they felt they received little or no attention, and signed to different record companies around the world (CMC International in the US).

A March 1995 show, once again in Cleveland, Ohio, was recorded for Overkill's first full-length live album, a 100-minute double CD entitled Wrecking Your Neck. The album was released in April of 1995; with the first pressing featuring a bonus CD containing the Overkill EP that had been out of print for ten years. A music video for the song "Bastard Nation" taken from Wrecking Your Neck was also released, but again failed to receive airplay in the US.
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ZonedWithinRage
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« Reply #3 on: July 14, 2007, 08:23:10 pm »

The Comeau/Marino era
Late in 1995, both Cannavino and Gant decided to leave the band; Rob Cannavino to focus on motorcycle racing, and Merritt Gant to spend more time with his family. To everyone's surprise, Overkill then hired Joe Comeau, former singer of Liege Lord (now playing guitar). Comeau brought along former Anvil guitarist Sebastian Marino, with whom he had worked with in the past. The new line up recorded The Killing Kind in 1996, again self-produced and mixed by Chris Tsangarides (Judas Priest). While staying well within the thrash genre, the album was a departure from its predecessor's more traditional thrash metal style and featured many modern elements, such as Hardcore elements, while the vocals showed influences from a broad spectrum of music. As Comeau was also a singer, backing vocals on The Killing Kind and subsequent albums were more elaborate and frequent than before, adding another new element to the band's sound. Press response to The Killing Kind was very positive, but the album remains a hotly contested topic among the band's audience, with some longtime fans resistant to the new modern elements, and others hailing The Killing Kind as one of the band's finest moments.

Overkill toured Europe twice in support of The Killing Kind first in February 1996 with Megora and Accu????er, and then again in November with Anvil and Stahlhammer. In the summer of 1996, Overkill appeared on Volume 2 of Century Media's "Legends Of Metal - A Tribute To Judas Priest" compilation, to which they contributed 'Tyrant', heavily adapted to the band's own style.

In summer 1997, the band released !!!Fuck You!!! and Then Some. The album included the !!!Fuck You!!! EP, which had been out of print for some years, along with the classic Overkill EP and two live tracks from a 1990 promo single. October of the same year saw the release of the ninth Overkill studio album, titled From The Underground And Below. This record retained some of the modern influences from The Killing Kind, while also reincorporating elements from the band's earlier efforts. Some songs on From The Underground And Below, including "Save Me", even had a slight industrial metal sound to them. Reportedly a video for the track "Long Time Dyin'" was shot, but due to the non-existence of metal in the mainstream media at the time, it is unlikely that the video has ever aired on television. Again Overkill opted to only tour Europe in support of the album, which took place in May 1998, with Nevermore, Angel Dust and Nocturnal Rites.

In 1998, Blitz was diagnosed with a very aggressive form of nose cancer and underwent immediate surgery, thankfully in time to catch the cancer before it spread. After his recovery, the band started work on their tenth studio album, and the self produced Necroshine was released in February 1999, making Overkill the very first thrash metal band ever to release ten full-length studio albums (Other first wave thrash bands, such as Sodom or Kreator would not achieve this milestone until two years later). While once again quite different from the previous records and musically not considered "classic" Overkill, the album was vocally even more experimental than The Killing Kind, and was well received by fans and critics alike.
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ZonedWithinRage
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« Reply #4 on: July 14, 2007, 08:27:35 pm »

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SlaytanicCFH
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« Reply #5 on: July 16, 2007, 06:49:13 pm »

What a great fucking band! especially live!
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red4skins23
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« Reply #6 on: July 22, 2007, 07:46:14 pm »

Seen them back in the late 80's ---awesome!!!! made me a believer!
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« Reply #7 on: November 12, 2009, 04:45:29 pm »

overkill kicks ass
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ministrymember99
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« Reply #8 on: November 18, 2009, 09:13:59 pm »

::surprise
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« Reply #9 on: January 22, 2010, 02:27:59 pm »

hi people .. i find super guitarist!!he is only 12 and he play only 14 months the guitar and he shred like herman li .. must see!!http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RbJPIq-4b-4 .. and ozzy is best singer in history
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