Review Summary: The finest Overkill album to date, a fast paced thrash album that never lets up in the intensity.
Overkill are one of the longest running bands in the thrash metal genre, having been around since the very earliest part of the 1980s and have consistently pumped out spectacular releases. Even during the hard times for the metal world during the mid 1990's, Overkill still kept themselves and the thrash genre afloat with songs such as FUCT from albums like From The Underground And Below that showed that thrash was not dead as long as Overkill were around. Their efforts eventually proved not to be in vain with the thrash revival that came in the 2000's and Overkill eventually put their own stamp on this revival with perhaps the strongest album of their career, the mighty Ironbound.
This is straight up in your face thrash metal that gets the listener's head moving in ways that nonsense such as Death Magnetic could never hope to. Ironbound is not a particularly short affair but it whizzes by so fast that you barely have time to catch your breath. The epic length of songs such as Ironbound and The Green And Black would usually hinder a thrash metal band as thrash has always been about delivering a point in as little time as possible but these songs show that Overkill know exactly how to craft a lengthy song for maximum impact. The band did this so very well with some of their songs off of their early material such as The Years Of Decay album but on Ironbound they come into their own with longer songs.
The riff craft on Ironbound is among the best out there. Overkill are not a band that needs to cram as much technicality into their songs as possible to make them a good band and nor do they need a breakdown infested chug-fest to deliver a point. Instead they thrash along at full speed with some really enjoyable guitar work that covers a variety of tempos perfectly. The drumming is also very intense on this album and jumps between many speeds across the songs, usually changing the tempo within the same song three or four times and also retains a lot of variety instead of the monotonous drumming found on albums like Slayer's most recent album.
The instrumental work is complimented perfectly by a fantastic production that is not overproduced but is definitely clear and a joy to listen to. The riff that opens Ironbound is the best example of the in-your-face production that this band has used for Ironbound and it could not work to better effect. The production job on here makes the album heavy and aggressive and every instrument is very prominent in the mix. The icing on the cake for this album is Bobby Blitz's crazy vocal performance that is probably his strongest to date with some crazy high notes and the heavy New York accent that seeps through when he dives into his lower register. On this album he carries a snide, sarcastic tone and this really works when coupled with lyrics such as "if I'm staring at the table then I must be laying on the floor" whilst thundering along.
The songs themselves on this album are as close to perfection as thrash metal can get from the magnificent opener The Green And Black through the title track and the fast paced Bring Me The Night right through the the phenomenal The SRC. The songs are not for everyone and this is something that is best displayed by the multi part title track that begins heavy as hell and then moves into a clean section before building up to a marvelous closure. This is an album that has a lot of different styles but always feels very intense and as though the band are out for blood. This is really the sound of a band that are hungry for blood after a couple of slightly more lackluster releases in Relix IV and Immortalis and it seeps through with every song sounding full of pure, unadulterated rage.
Ironbound is a fantastic album and probably the best album the band has ever put out, and if this does not ring true then it is the best since The Years Of Decay. It showed that thrash is very much alive and that every song is an absolute masterpiece with Bring Me The Night and The SRC being two of the best and the first two songs being among the finest thrash metal songs of all time. Ironbound also showcases a shift into a more modernized production for Overkill that could not work better with this band's sound.