Overkill’s ‘Mean, Green, Killing Machine’ Winds Down in New Jersey With Nile, Amorphis + Swallow the Sun [Photos + Review]
"Ma, I'm home for supper!" The charismatic Bobby Blitz was in even finer form on the final night of Overkill's tour with Nile as Amorphis and Swallow the Sun's trek converged at the Starland Ballroom in Sayreville, New Jersey for a punishing assault of all things heavy.
A crowd of youthful metalheads and the genre's longest supporters piled into the venue on Saturday night (March 11) to welcome their home state heroes Overkill back from another U.S. tour as they promote their newly released 18th full length, The Grinding Wheel. With an introduction from Eddie Trunk, who noted the near capacity crowd was reminiscent of Overkill's late '80s shows in the area, the thrash legends kicked into "Mean, Green, Killing Machine," the first song off the new record.
Despite being on the verge of turning 58-years-old, Blitz displayed his ageless qualities as 'The Wrecking Crew' that is Overkill steadily delivered a night of new and old classics, following up the first song by reaching far back into their catalog to the Feel the Fire debut, "Rotten to the Core." Heavy on crowd participation, this fan favorite sent thrashers over the barrier in crowdsurfing tidal waves as security spent the rest of the night hauling bodies safely to the ground.
Throughout the set, Blitz pridefully commented on being back home in New Jersey, with the "Jersey strong all day long" adage touted a handful of times. He even remarked he'd be content being buried right in the parking lot of the Starland Ballroom!
As they alternated fresher tracks like "Electric Rattlesnake" and the grin-inducing new cut "Goddamn Trouble" in with the timeless "Hello From the Gutter" (complete with a maniacal high shriek from Blitz) and "Feel the Fire," the sense of Overkill's consistency over the course of more than three decades was flat-out undeniable.
Always catering their set lists to the die hard fans, the Jersey boys dusted off a pair of Horrorscope jams. Blitz remarked how "it looks like 1991 in here" as they set the clocks back 26 years rather than an hour forward per daylight savings time regulations which would be in effect shortly after the show's end. The mid-tempo of "Nice Day... for a Funeral" came first, quickly followed by the speedy rhythmic juggernaut "Infectious," two undoubted highlights of the set.
All the hallmarks of Overkill's show were in place as Blitz ducked offstage during instrumental and solo bits, crouching down waiting for his moment to sprint and pounce on the mic to come back into the song. The band introductions came in various spots throughout the night, including a nod to skinsman Eddy Garcia, who was sitting in place of the usual Ron Lipnicki. One fan in the crowd mistook Garcia for Vinnie Paul and starting chanting the Pantera legend's name, but went mum when Blitz revealed it was a different Texas native.
The set finished off with a cover of Thin Lizzy's "Emerald," playing out with that immortal melody as axeman Derek Tailer bid the crowd goodnight. The house lights dimmed and the crowd awaited the return of Overkill and they stormed back with the new era bruiser, "Ironbound," which has since become a bit of the band's anthem.
Again declaring his one rule, "I'm in charge," Blitz delivered a long introduction to "Elimination," a unrivaled classic from The Years of Decay and again, the crowd took their lumps in the pit, which had been a blurred circle of sweaty long-hairs for the last hour plus.
Getting one more rise out of the audience, the frontman screamed "We don't care what you say!" as more than 2,000 fans yelled back "F--k you!" with middle fingers held high and proud. Blitz exclaimed, "You know how this ends" prior to the crowd participation banter and Overkill ended the night and tour with their perennial closer, the Subhumans cover, "F--k You."
For those who had seen Overkill's primal thrash devastation before, this show reassured fans what they already knew; that the Jersey quintet still bring one of the hardest hitting sets in heavy metal and for the uninitiated, it was a lesson to never miss the aptly known 'Wrecking Crew' again.
Before Overkill's dominance began, fans were treated to Nile's blast-laden, tomb-born Egyptian death metal with new guitarist / vocalist Brian Kingsland in place of the recently departed Dallas Toler-Wade. With their triple vocal attack and howling low end, they ripped through classics like "Sacrifice Unto Sebek, "Defiling the Gates of Ishtar" and set-closer "Black Seeds of Vengeance" while George Kollias put on an endurance clinic behind the kit.
Amorphis and Swallow the Sun, who were on a separate tour of their own, linked up with Overkill and Nile, playing brief but wholly effective sets as fans welcomed a bit of melody into their night. Amorphis mixed it up from all periods of their career while Tomi Joutsen showcased his bowel-wrenching gutturals and soothing cleans through his unique hand-held mic positioned with three grips. Unfortunately Swallow the Sun had to cut their melodic death-doom short, apologizing for being late, but leaving the crowd wanting more, which is never a bad thing!
Check out our photos from the show above and see the full set list below.
Overkill Setlist March 12, 2017
01. "Mean, Green, Killing Machine"
02. "Rotten to the Core"
03. "Electric Rattlesnake"
04. "Hello From the Gutter"
05. "Goddamn Trouble"
06. "Feel the Fire"
07. "Nice Day... For a Funeral"
11. "Emerald" (Thin Lizzy cover)
14. "Fuck You" (The Subhumans cover)
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