Live: Overkill – O2 Academy, Islington

As is now traditional, piss-poor directions see at least one DT reviewer introducing himself to the entire UK beatbox championship upstairs before finally hooking up with the rest of the Downtuned school trip in the bar downstairs for Overkill’s annual classic thrashathon .

Openers Gripper are maintaining a resolutely low-key internet profile (I think – to be honest I could only stand to stay on MySpace for about 45 seconds) in line with their stage presence. The group put accros some bland but effective post-Arch Enemy deaththrash with cut n’ copy female vox and a dreadlocked weirdy-beirdy bass player failing to disguise tunes that blur together and bring nothing new to the table. They do have decent musicianship and a nice line in Slayeresque off-beat coordinated headbanging, but need to drop the hackneyed ‘pump-fist-shout-hey-hey-at-audience’ stage moves.

Savage Messiah

Next up it’s Savage Messiah, featuring possibly the only guitarist ever to purchase a red Jackson Kelly and kicking off with some decent mid-tier thrashing a la Sacred reich with some impressive soloing that brings a hint of Chuck Schuldiner to proceedings. Unfortunately they cock this up with a bizarre foray into Gary Moore noodle territory and a reliance on their Iced Earth album collection for songwriting skills.

So far-things are going…ok, but despite the constant flow of booze we’ve yet to be impressed.

Enter Greece’s Suicidal Angels.


Heeellooo Looohhhndohhhnnn…are you vvvvready to thrasssshhhhh??

Proof positive that Sepultura have a lot to answer for, we’re treated to a hot mix of Destruction/Scepter Eurothrash circa 1986 –in other words, stupid and fucking great! Nonsensical comments about being borrrrrnnn in darrrknezzzz aside, SA will never be big, but have all the kvlt kudos to keep them busy on the party san festival circuit for years to come –derivative but tons o’ fun.


In the past few years Overkill have occasionally felt like they were treading water on record, but new album Ironbound seems to have reconnected them with their roots. With the band favouring a classics-heavy set tonight, it’s a genuine tribute to the new tunes that they don’t stick out, giving us a short sharp dose of exciting, quick witted early 80s thrashing with nary a step wrong. Out front, singer Blitz seems to have transformed into the bastard offspring of Bruce Lee and the Cryptkeeper, whip-thin with a voice that could cut glass –this from a serial stroke victim, while D.D.Verni may have lost his corkscrew locks but has kept his talent for great tunes and the gnarliest bass sound in metal.
Keeping things short and sweet, the set is heavy on early material with a few rabble rousing shoutalongs like Necroshine and Here’s to The Old School thrown in, then it’s back on for a quick encore, ending of course with Fuck You! – Which segues seamlessly into the seldom-aired Dead Boys cover Sonic Reducer.

Furious, headbanging fun of the highest calibre, Overkill cement their deserved status as scene legends with a show that pisses all over younger challengers and even leaves old bastards like us with a bangover. Long may they reign!

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One Comment

  • firecracker
    Posted March 3, 2010 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

    Ouch! Bit harsh. I quite enjoyed Gripper; I agree with the fist pumping thing though.

    Overkill however were VERY impressive; this gig was alot of fun.

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