The Most Underrated Band In Metal History

Written by: AndMetalForAll
Published: 07.04.2012
After listening to Overkill's latest album The Electric Age, I was astonished with the form of a band that has existed for over thirty years. The newest release of the New Jersey natives puts the band, in my opinion, at the biggest peak of their career. But at the end of the day one thing is clear: although they have been releasing thrash-metal masterpieces, Overkill hasn't been recognized for their talent and creativity since their formation. In my view they are definitely the most underrated band in metal history, while other bands with less than half of Overkill's talent and less quality in their discography receive much more attention and recognition. Throughout the years they have been outsiders; when the discussion of the biggest bands in metal history comes up in conversation, it seems fans usually forget Overkill and fail to recognize their quality and contribution to the music industry.

The band was formed in 1980 in New Jersey and led by Bobby "Blitz" Ellsworth and bassist D.D. Verni. To date, Overkill has released sixteen studio albums, two EPs, two live albums, and a "covers" album. Since their formation they navigated through different styles, between thrash metal, speed metal, heavy metal and groove metal (in my opinion one of the pioneers of alternative/nu metal). The 90's were, in my opinion, the worst of the band. Every band goes through different styles in their career, some more alternative oriented; usually that is a great help to the bands in order not to get tired of making music and they experience other things so that in future years they release better things. That transition was good for them, the 90's were a good experience, and in the later years they have been releasing, like I mentioned above, very good albums, very close to being metal masterpieces.

For example legendary bands such as Metallica, Anthrax, Slayer, Megadeth - The Big 4 - all of them have to make a really good effort to make good music. Metallica hasn't released anything good for over 20 years; Slayer released a "crappy" last album; Megadeth is of the four bands "the least worst", although releasing good albums in the last eight years, nothing compared to their real status as one of the best thrash metal bands of all time; Anthrax, to be realistic, hasn't released anything very good since the beginning of the 90's. Overkill is quite the contrary, they are the example of an extraordinary band of thrash metal and throughout the years renewed their style over and over again, but always with great quality. They don't need to rehash old hits in order to be a successful band; they have the ability to make amazing albums and renewing their music.

They seem like Port wine: the older the better!!

They are faster, heavier, technically more skilled, and more inspired than ever. The last two albums are an example of that. Ironbound and The Electric Age are the two perfect examples of how a band with their age can still perform at such high level.

"[Overkill] is a snapshot of one of the few old-school thrash bands that has actually gotten better with time rather than collapsing under the weight of their own success/excess, giving the listener a look at one of the original heavy hitters of metal who are still at the top of their game and only getting heavier."

(AllMusic about Ironbound)


"Not very many bands make it for 30 years, and even fewer are at the top of their game after that length of time. Overkill is one of those bands, and Ironbound is one of their best efforts since the early '90s."

(About.com about Ironbound)


"Overkill's The Electric Age is a scorching thrashterpiece that will enhance the band's legendary status even further, and will ensure the successful continuity of the band's quest to infect the whole planet with headbanger whiplash."

(Metal Assault about The Electric Age)


"As if some kind of beast possessed that turns its mouth of razor sharp teeth on its victim in glee, Overkill clamps their musical brutality down onto the heavy listener… and there is no letting up. This album is clearly a defining moment in the history of one of the most underrated American metal acts ever."

(The Metal Den about The Electric Age)


Personally, the last two albums are hellacious, completely off the chart. It seems that everyone agrees with these statements, but, "the system" doesn't allow it, greatness seems to be destined for the Big 4; despite of the bad albums released by the four bands, it looks like they will always be considered the best. Overkill is an outsider and always will be. Their live shows are completely crazy; true thrash metal all the way!! Even now they perform at an amazing level, since 1980. They give the fans their money's worth. But still they play on secondary stages; when will the organizers of shows, producers, editors, and fans realize that this band has the ability to be leaders? These guys have the quality and experience to be leaders at a time when crappy metal is in its prime with pseudo-bands. It's thanks to Overkill that thrash metal didn't die!! Of course other great bands helped this cause, bands such as Machine Head, Exodus, and Accept among others. These bands also deserve more recognition for their work to the metal industry…

All in all, it's completely unfair that Overkill is on the 2nd tier of the metal industry. I hope people pay more attention to this amazing band, and with articles like this, fans can listen carefully to the quality of an extraordinary band that endures for over thirty years. Overkill is in this industry to stay, and fortunately, are here for another ten or twenty years. If in twenty years they still can perform at such a high level I'll be here to call attention to the history of this legendary band!








 
Guest article disclaimer:
This is a guest article, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.




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Oaken - 17.04.2012 at 23:19  
When I listened to The Years Of Decay a few months back, I felt it had something special that other thrash records lacked. After reading this, my interest in the band has increased; I'd like to give their whole discography a shot.
Good article.
AndMetalForAll - 17.04.2012 at 23:32  
Written by Oaken on 17.04.2012 at 23:19

When I listened to The Years Of Decay a few months back, I felt it had something special that other thrash records lacked. After reading this, my interest in the band has increased; I'd like to give their whole discography a shot.
Good article.


Thanks for reading...

greets,
AndMetalForAll
Void Eater - 18.04.2012 at 02:24  
When I saw the title of the article, I knew it was going to be about Overkill. Always nice to see somebody who appreciates them. Agree with this article 100%.

Marcel Hubregtse - 18.04.2012 at 13:15  
How the hell anyone can claim, with a straight face, that Overkill is the most unerrated band in metal is totally beyond me.
Druss - 18.04.2012 at 14:33  
^Agreed, as far as I can tell, Overkill have enjoyed quite a bit of exposure in their time. Especially for the last two albums, the reaction to which has kinda baffled me listening to them; while I prefer my thrash on the more melodic side, I wasn't exactly blown away by them. There are bands out there far more underrated than Overkill, for me.

Edit: Forgot to comment on the article directly, while I don't agree with the topic aim, it was well written, so kudos.
Troy Killjoy - 18.04.2012 at 16:39  
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 18.04.2012 at 13:15
How the hell anyone can claim, with a straight face, that Overkill is the most unerrated band in metal is totally beyond me.

And manage to write an entire article about it.

I don't even agree with any of this and I've always rooted for Overkill.
Void Eater - 18.04.2012 at 23:55  
Part of it is that some other bands from around the same time as them are now among the biggest metal bands in the world-in Metallica's case, one of the biggest bands in music history, and possibly the most popular American band of all time, Aerosmith being the only 'Merican band I can think of that may be more popular. They've been consistently releasing albums for 30 years and produced albums of equal or better quality than the big 4, consistently toured and put on great shows, but never even approached their level of popularity. At least the thrash resurgence seems to have given them an increase in popularity among angsty teens who are to cool for metalcore.
BoxCar Willy - 19.04.2012 at 05:17  
*cough* Somber Eyes *cough*


In all seriousness I had a feeling it was going to be Overkill as well. I personally don't like the band but I can see Kual's and Void's point.
Cynic Metalhead - 19.04.2012 at 07:30  
Totally agree with the article

but don't you think it's too bias to mention Overkill? and that to be in the context of other ample of great underrated bands who faced the same hideous journey and still kicking the mainstream scene like anything.
williumsmith - 19.04.2012 at 19:44  
Wow, man. Great article, thanks for sharing the video - totally forgot about them!
AndMetalForAll - 19.04.2012 at 22:40  
Written by Cynic Metalhead on 19.04.2012 at 07:30

Totally agree with the article

but don't you think it's too bias to mention Overkill? and that to be in the context of other ample of great underrated bands who faced the same hideous journey and still kicking the mainstream scene like anything.


Sure, and I mention that after the quotes. Of course it's far too limited but in the end, in my opinion Overkill is the most underrated band in Metal.

My intention with this article was to show in my view, which band was the most underrated. It had to be biased.

Thanks for reading
greets,
AndMetalForAll
R'Vannith - 20.04.2012 at 16:23  
I would say 'taken for granted' rather than underrated. They have received their praise where it's due I think but despite this their success, although it is there, is generally overshadowed by that of other bands which for whatever reason just got more attention. When people think beyond the Big 4 they don't always have Overkill top of the list but I'm pretty sure many would be aware of their presence.
Marcel Hubregtse - 21.04.2012 at 02:44  
Simple why the big four of thrash got more attention than Overkill, they were trend setters whereas Overkill werre purely followes.

They started of as a nwowbhm and punk band cover band and only switched to playing thrash when Metallica released thei demos. Hell they even admit to doing so...
Troy Killjoy - 21.04.2012 at 05:50  
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 21.04.2012 at 02:44
They started of as a nwowbhm and punk band cover band and only switched to playing thrash when Metallica released thei demos. Hell they even admit to doing so...

Nothing wrong with following a trend if you do it well if you ask me. I thought you'd be the first to admit that to be honest, as you're always mentioning Hellhammer being an influence but pure shit to listen to.
Marcel Hubregtse - 21.04.2012 at 12:41  
Quote:
Nothing wrong with following a trend if you do it well if you ask me. I thought you'd be the first to admit that to be honest, as you're always mentioning Hellhammer being an influence but pure shit to listen to.


I never said there is anything wrong with that, just pointing out the reason why Overkill didn't get as much attention as the others.
Troy Killjoy - 21.04.2012 at 17:20  
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 21.04.2012 at 12:41
I never said there is anything wrong with that, just pointing out the reason why Overkill didn't get as much attention as the others.

Fair enough. Your comment just made it seem like you were judging them for it, but it's understandable (even as a fan of the band myself) why these guys were never lumped into the likes of the big four.
JohnDoe - 21.04.2012 at 22:27  
I disagree with Overkill being underrated or most underrated band ever, but everybody is entitled to an opinion and I kinda understand yours. many people state thrash metal bands outside the Big 4 as underrated, considering how annoyingly famous the bands of the big 4 are. But still, Overkill has always been appreciated, never ignored, they have been around and made good music (some great, some decent). I for one never found them underrated.

I also disagree with you saying Overkill are pioneers of alternative/nu metal; it's ridiculous, their music had nothing to do with any of the two genres. "Blame" Pantera, RATM, or Deftones for nu metal and the whole grunge thing for alternative metal
AndMetalForAll - 29.04.2012 at 23:55  
I was sure this article would be "controversial", many would agree with me, others disagree. Of course that there are other great bands that are underrated, bands like Kreator, Exodus or Tankard, for example. In my opinion Overkill are definitely The Most Underrated Band In the History Of Metal. Thanks for reading, to the ones that read and will read the article.

greets,
AndMetalForAll
Troy Killjoy - 30.04.2012 at 02:47  
I'm just gonna go out there and say Tankard aren't underrated. If anything, they're overrated.

Like Marcel pointed out, they're the AC/DC of thrash. Every song is the same.
Marcel Hubregtse - 30.04.2012 at 20:25  
I also find it funny that Kual mnetions Kreator and Exodus as underrated bands.
AndMetalForAll - 30.04.2012 at 21:50  
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 30.04.2012 at 20:25

I also find it funny that Kual mnetions Kreator and Exodus as underrated bands.


I truly feel that, really. i think both bands were able to put together great albums...even the most recent albums, mainly Exodus, were very good. Maybe i wouldn't feel that both bands should be in the "god status" but, in my view they should be more recognized in the world of metal.

Of course that's only my opinion, I respect yours, but, don't agree with you. Overkill are, in my opinion, the most underrated band in metal and Exodus and Kreator should be recognized a bit more for their talent and music produced.

Tankard is a bit repetitive i agree with both, maybe, i exagerated a bit in calling them underrated, that was an example of a band that is unknown in most Europe, at least, South Europe and in my opinion should be more respected than they are. For me they always sound different and are one of the bands that play not for money but because they love what they do; that spirit is not common, nowadays, and it is one of the things i like in them. They don't have amazing albums but also don't have horrible albums, they are a bit in the middle of the ladder.

greets,
AndMetalForAll
Marcel Hubregtse - 30.04.2012 at 21:52  
Written by AndMetalForAll on 30.04.2012 at 21:50

Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 30.04.2012 at 20:25

I also find it funny that Kual mnetions Kreator and Exodus as underrated bands.


I truly feel that, really. i think both bands were able to put together great albums...even the most recent albums, mainly Exodus, were very good. Maybe i wouldn't feel that both bands should be in the "god status" but, in my view they should be more recognized in the world of metal.


They sell out venues all over the place. People that aren''t into thrash also know the bands, so how the bleep can they be underrated?
Mr. Doctor - 30.04.2012 at 22:00  
It seems like if a band doesn't have a statue made of fucking gold they can be called underrated.
AndMetalForAll - 30.04.2012 at 22:01  
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 30.04.2012 at 21:52

Written by AndMetalForAll on 30.04.2012 at 21:50

Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 30.04.2012 at 20:25

I also find it funny that Kual mnetions Kreator and Exodus as underrated bands.


I truly feel that, really. i think both bands were able to put together great albums...even the most recent albums, mainly Exodus, were very good. Maybe i wouldn't feel that both bands should be in the "god status" but, in my view they should be more recognized in the world of metal.


They sell out venues all over the place. People that aren''t into thrash also know the bands, so how the bleep can they be underrated?


Ok, if you go by that way... venues with what capacity 50000 people, 60000, 100000 people?... I don't think selling out venues with 2000 people can be called a deserved respect. Young bands play for more people than Exodus or Kreator. Both bands exist for over 30 years and it seems that they didn't earn more respect in the last few years.
Marcel Hubregtse - 30.04.2012 at 22:03  
It seems you really do have to look up the meaning of the word underrated in a dictionary

especially since both bands are mentioned a lot when it comes to being an influence on toehr bands and musicians.
AndMetalForAll - 30.04.2012 at 22:23  
I respect your opinion, we don't agree...there's no problem.

We may discuss all the time in the world that we'll never agree, it seems to me.
Still, thanks for reading...

greets,
AndMetalForAll
Bad English - 10.05.2012 at 22:34  
Not gonna read all comments but how can it be underated, its good band, I agree Big 4 relise crap, but same way Testament who's simmilar, they are not underated if this band are
Necronus - 11.05.2012 at 14:05  
I was going to be all "Overkill are hugely popular and well-liked, how can they be underrated?", but that's already been said so there's no need.

But, yeah, there are plenty of underappreciated bands that this article could have been about; that way, those unknown bands could have had a (very, very small and likely inconsequential) amount of exposure. Instead, the article harps on about Overkill (aka a band that is treated like a sacred cow within the metal scene) for the millionth time, as if nobody's ever heard of them or given them well-deserved praise.
scissorfight - 11.05.2012 at 19:56  
Having been a loyal Overkill fan since the mid 80's and Feel the Fires release,i'd have to disagree with the statement that they are the most "underrated" metal band of all-time. Granted they were overshodowed by the big 4,they were signed to Atlantic and enjoyed good sales throughout the late 80's. They have celebrated somewhat of a rebirth in the last few years due to the newer thrash bands coming out. I personally put Overkills last to records right up there with anything they've done in the last 20 years. A few bands i always considered underrated were Sacred Reich,Forbidden,Vio-lence,etc. Excellantly written article,although i dont tend to agree with it.
AngelofDeth - 03.10.2012 at 09:56  
They get what they deserve, they arent underrated at all.

Your fanboyism just makes you OVER RATE them.. haha
Aristarchos - 19.11.2012 at 17:47  
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 18.04.2012 at 13:15

How the hell anyone can claim, with a straight face, that Overkill is the most unerrated band in metal is totally beyond me.

I totally agree. They are the seventh best selling thrash band ever (at least according to wikipedia), everybody knows them and many people loves them. An underrated band is a band that most people don't even know, or perhaps overlooked is a better word for that. The most underrated/overlooked metal bands in my opinion are Sorcery and Legend, both great 70's band. Sorcery, who is often described as a proto-doom band, and Legend, who released a unique album in 1979 that almost could be described as prog metal, although it doesn't sound like the prog metal of today.
AndMetalForAll - 08.01.2013 at 17:54  
Just check the track "Elimination" of Overkill's performance here in Vagos, Portugal. It was an amazing show and of course I had to see it live, superb show and band performance as always. It was the only song available in the Internet with decent sound and video quality.

Valentin B - 10.01.2013 at 13:27  
I don't think there is a "most underrated band" in metal, and if there is such a thing that band is certainly not Overkill. They are good I agree, are a huge influence and at this moment they are the best of the 80s thrash bands that still release music, however they DO receive a lot of recognition and make a lot of money with their music.

Aside from their enormous popularity in the Americas and especially the USA of course, they tour Europe almost every year and have an insured spot on a ton of great festivals, and have played Wacken 6 times already (to give you an idea, the only bands that have played at more editions of Wacken are In Flames and Motorhead). Regardless of quality, how in the hell is a band like that underrated?

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