In the late '80s, with Metallica, Megadeth, and Anthrax in their full metal-god prime, it was easy and fun to underrate Overkill. Even in the pummeling "Elimination" and "Evil Never Dies," Bobby "Blitz" Ellsworth's vocals went a little too high, a little too often. Turns out, he's pretty tough -- he survived cancer and an onstage stroke. Equally remarkable is how his band has kept up its mettle.
Overkill's 1999 ripper Necroshine sounded a hell of a lot like 1989's Years of Decay. The newest album, Killbox 13, updates the band's sound, slightly and momentarily, for the first time since 1984, borrowing a Rage Against the Machine bass line ("Damned") and interpolating Slayer ("Devil by the Tail") between vintage workouts as fast and heavy as anything they've ever done. Metallica disappoints because its doesn't sound the way it did 18 years ago. Overkill never made that mistake.