Overkill, Crowbar, Havok and Black Fast at Come and Take It Live, Austin, TX, 9/19/2017

The Wrecking Crew.  They’ll wreck your necks, indeed.

Even if a great majority of the population of our country doesn’t even know who these guys exist, Overkill are a goddamn national treasure.  There hasn’t been a metal band going over the past 30 years that puts this amount of energy and animation into a live performance.  Vocalist Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth is firmly in the category of truly legendary frontmen in metal.  His vocal delivery is not of a Dickinsonian or Halford-esque level, but the stage presence he brings to every show is irrepressible.  From the wide array of hand gestures and poses to the ever-present mischievous cackle to the wise-ass New Jersey brand of sass and “fuck you” attitude, Ellsworth is the ultimate lovable heavy metal scamp.  This version of the band is also simply a machine.  You’ve got longtime bassist, DD Verni, holding down the foundation with guitarist Dave Linsk and Derek Tailer supplying a blistering amount of thrash riffs overtop.  The addition of new drummer Jason Bittner has added a bit of new thunder to the sound as well.  The set list was a fairly even blending of newer material off the past few albums with classics such as Rotten To the Core, I Hate, Hello From the Gutter, Horrorscope and Elimination.  Go see these guys if you haven’t before.  I guarantee a good time will be had.

Supporting the Mean, Green Killing Machine was New Orleans sludgelords, Crowbar, up-and-coming thrash outfit from Denver, Havok, and a thrash/speed band out of St. Louis, Black Fast.

Crowbar are another of these bands that are just an institution at this point.  Thick and meaty Sabbathian riffs provided a nice counter balance to speed of the other thrash bands on the bill.  Ever since Kirk Windstein dropped out of Down to refocus full-time on Crowbar, they have been very consistent in delivering top-notch sludge metal.  This evening was everything that you would expect out of an abbreviated set.

Havok is definitely a band of the upswing in the metal world as evidenced by the raucous reaction the crowd gave these dudes.  Maybe I’m having a get off my lawn moment and showing my age a bit, but I still think these guys have some ripening to do.  There is definitely talent in this band, but their sound still feel a bit too derivative of past bands.  I keep hearing Bonded by Blood by Exodus playing in my head whenever I hear Havok play.  It just feels like we’ve heard these songs before.  Keep plugging, guys.  I think you’ve got monumental potential.

Overkill-Rotten To the Core

Overkill-Wrecking Crew

Overkill-Ironbound

Crowbar-Walk With Knowledge Wisely

Havok-Unnatural Selection

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