The Metal Files

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Posts Tagged ‘overkill

Testament, Overkill, Flotsam and Jetsam & 4arm Concert Review, Austin TX, 2/5/2013

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Not too long ago it was announced that Testament, Overkill, Flotsam and Jetsam, and 4arm were coming to Emo’s. What a lineup! I bought a ticket as soon as they went on sale.

Let’s just get right into this. You’ve seen me talk about The Book several times and my outer metal nerd was in full effect yesterday. I left work and went straight to the venue to do some hanging around trying to catch up with Bobby and DD from Overkill and the Flotsam guys.

There was a guy and his son hanging out as well who had made a nice huge canvas screen print of a current Overkill photo with their logo on it. When those guys rolled up, they signed it cheerfully. I had Bobby and DD sign the book and got the usual question of, “What the hell is this?” Right after Overkill headed to their hotel, Gene Hoglan came out of the venue and I spoke with him for a little bit. Ten years ago I gave him a ride from his Strapping Young Lad show to go see Nuclear Assault at another venue. We laughed about shoving his huge frame into my little Saturn wagon.

A few minutes later I saw a friend of mine who works at the venue and he went ahead and walked me in with him before they started letting people in. Testament was doing their paid meet and greet on the patio and I was standing at the merch booth when Eric AK from Flotsam walked up. I shook his hand, talked to him about my F&J history of seeing them in Virginia. He remembered both venues saying something to the effect of, “The Peppermint Beach Club? Cool place on the beach? Loved playing there. But the Boathouse was a dump.” Mustaine said the same thing about the Boathouse when I met him in ’06. I loved that place (RIP), but whatever. Mike Gilbert came up as we were snapping a picture and photo-bombed it. I then had both guys sign the book and again a “WTH?” reaction. Eric said, “Come find us after the show, we’ll get Kelly and Ed to check this book out.”  Sweet!

The doors open up and a small crowd shuffles in. Australia’s 4arm was the opener at 645PM. I had just listened to a few of their songs earlier and while not overly impressed, I didn’t think it was awful…other than their name. They had a 30 minute set of standard thrash and were solid. I heard a little Slayer meets Bay Area Thrash in their sound. They were solid enough, but nothing groundbreaking.

Up next came Flotsam and Jetsam. They sounded great and to be honest were the band I was most excited about seeing. The last time was 1992 opening for Mercyful Fate. They were only given 35 minutes for a set and just came on and killed it. They sounded great in general, minus some sound issues from Ed Carlson’s amp…snap crackle and pop were all in attendance. Haha. They played Hammerhead and Escape from Within and 3 others. They were super solid, though. Kelly’s drumming was still as spot on as it was 20 years ago. I stood about 3 people from the barricade with a huge smile on my face the whole time they were on.  Just great.  Eric’s vocals started a little rough in the first song, but by song #2, he was in full AK mode sounding great and powerful.  I’m ready to see them again ASAP and hopefully with a longer set.  Eric told me after the show that they’d definitely add Der Fuhrer and She Took An Axe when they tour on their own.  I almost squealed like a little girl.

Overkill was up next and to be honest I wasn’t enthused about it. I absolutely love Feel the Fire and Taking Over and a few tracks each from Under the Influence and Years of Decay, but without Rat Skates’ insane drumming and Bobby Gustafson’s uniquely styled riffs, they lost a lot. That this man’s opinion. Overkill hit the stage and I got what I expected, a cross section of their long career. They did Rotten to the Core and Wrecking Crew and while I love those songs, they just didn’t feel right last night. Way too fast and a tad sloppy. Almost like ‘let’s just get through these as fast as we can’. I’m such a curmudgeon. They also played Elimination and Fuck You, but I only heard them from outside the venue and my friend Carlos who was getting ready to interview Flotsam called me to their bus to get Ed and Kelly to sign the book. Score! I’d missed Overkill the last 2 times they were here and I had heard that they were both good shows and that they had even played Deny the Cross(!!!). But not last night. Oh well.

Last night was my 7th time seeing Testament since ’87 on The Legacy Tour opening for Anthrax. They’ve never put on a bad show in my opinion and tonight they were on it. I think Chuck Billy’s voice sounded better than it has in years. He used his cleaner voice more than the rough voice he’s done a lot live in recent years. The setlist was a good mix of old and new with all of the usual suspects except for one, and to me it’s a major one…Disciples of the Watch was not played. To me, that is the defining Testament song. I can’t have everything, right? But overall the band was great. The new album is good and a lot better than Formation of Damnation. Gene Hoglan was on the kit again for this tour and the guy is so incredibly awesome that it hurts my soul a little. He’s so fluid in his playing that it makes it look like he’s not even trying. Skolnick’s playing was spot on as always but I always get the feeling that he’d rather be doing his solo jazz thing these days.

Overall it was a great night for $20! I bought a shirt from both Flotsam and Testament, Overkill didn’t have a design that I liked. Saw lots of friends and made some new ones. Flotsam said they’ll be doing a US tour after their new album, Ugly Noise, comes out in April. I hope they can make some Texas dates. Great to see Austin continuing to get some quality metal tours.

I didn’t get any shots of Overkill or Testament as I was playing the “old man” and hung out near the back of the venue.



More Flots

More Flots

Erik AK says, "Horns up!"

Erik AK says, “Horns up!”

Eric AK and I being photo-bombed by Mike Gilbert

Eric AK and I being photo-bombed by Mike Gilbert


Sigs from "Blitz" and DD of Overkill in The Book

Sigs from “Blitz” and DD of Overkill in The Book


Megadeth/Overkill May 23, 1987

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One of the greatest concerts I have ever seen.  Megadeth on the Peace Sells tour and Overkill on the Taking Over tour.  Holy crap.  This actual date was the night of my junior prom.  I had a date set up and was set to take her to the prom…then this show got announced and I had to cancel.  I mean c’mon.  Megadeth & Overkill!  I hope she wasn’t too disappointed. Probably not.

When I met Mustaine in the summer of 2006, I told him that above story.  His reply was classic.  “Don’t use my concert as an excuse for you not being able to get a date, dude!”  haha.  Nice one, Dave.

The concert was incredible.  Period. Awesome setlists!

Written by The Metal Files

April 4, 2012 at 9:30 pm

SxSW and other upcoming shows…Austin is the greatest.

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When I moved here 3 years ago from Norfolk, VA, I didn’t really know much about this town.  I didn’t come here for the music, it was for a job.   From my first weekend here, I was thrown deep into what this city was about…or at least what this city touts itself as being…”The Live Music Capital of the World.”  The bad part about this town’s motto is that it does as much to keep music down as it does to support it.

Each year the local weekly music and entertainment paper, “The Chronicle”, puts on a festival called South By Southwest, SxSW for short.  This is the 24th year.  It was originally intended for bands to be showcased to record exec types.  Now it seems just more of a cash grab for record labels who showcase their own bands…and it’s really a huge cash grab for the festival promoters.  Bands come from all over the world, literally, to play here.  I went to my first one 3 years ago and got to see some cool stuff.  A lot of major label acts come and play for free.  There’s a whole badge, wristband, pre-pay sort of thing that gives you a little better access to shows but most of us locals can still see the ones we want to see by either waiting in long lines, showing up early or knowing someone at the venue who can get you in the back door.  Two years ago Motorhead played a free outdoor day show but you had to be on an RSVP list to get in.  Gates opened at 11AM and we were in line at 9am.  There were 20 people ahead of us.  Literally thousands lined up around 2 city blocks to try and get in.  You snooze you lose.  We won!

Walk anywhere downtown during the Weds-Sunday music fest and you will hear something that you like and most likely be able to get in, maybe with a small cover or just in for free…depending on whether or not it’s an “official” SxSW show.   The non-SxSW shows can be as good as the official ones, usually better.  Last night, walking by one of my favorite bars I hear some crazy jazz coming out…It was Prince’s bassist and drummer.  AWESOME!  Totally random.  Across the street the bassist for Little Richard was playing.

Last year the Texas Rockfest folks (non-SxSW) put on a great free show.  They always get use of 2 prime large open lots in the middle of the official stuff and show great bands for free.  Last year we got to see DC4 (Odin, DIO, Armored Saint guys) and Eddie Ojeda (who sucked actually, but still, you get my point).  The the the Rockfest guys are doing a $12 St. Patrick’s Day show featuring Agony Column (reunion!), George Lynch, Razr13 (Doug Pinnick), Faster Pussycat, Crank County Daredevils, LA Guns, Austin’s Broken Teeth (Watchtower, Dangerous Toys, Pariah members).  The next days begins the free Rockfest shows with more Broken Teeth,  Danko Jones(!), and more.

Other cool shows during this years festival are VoiVod, Cheap Trick (free!), GWAR (day show…sweet!) and tons more.

Getting past the SxSW thing, Austin is stepping up its game over the past year as for as the metal goes.  We just had Dianno here.  Anvil rolled through a few weeks back.  Megadeth/Testament/Exodus are next week.  Kreator is soon.  Overkill is soon.  Hammerfall is soon.  Not to mention with San Antonio just being 75 minutes south, there’s tons more to see.  Free Lizzy Borden show there in April.  Maiden is coming back this summer.  What’s a rocker to do?  I’m gonna go broke…happily.

All the above nonsense being said, life is grand here.  I just need to lose some weight…and I’m working on it…sort of.

Thanks Austin.  The move here changed and saved my life methinks. for non-sxsw shows and if you want to see the “official” band list.

Agressor – Say Your Prayers (1996)

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Here’s a good one from the vaults that most metalheads probably haven’t heard…but should.  Agressor was a NY band agressorthat apparently had been around since the 1980s but really only got decent recognition when their debut full length album, Say Your Prayers, was released in 1996.  Kelz turned me on to these guys on a compilation tape that he had made for me.  After hearing it I immediately called Sentinel Steel Records and ordered it from Denis.

The best description is to call these guys a poor man’s Overkill because the singer could fill in for Blitz and I doubt anyone would notice the difference.  Say Your Prayers certainly has a feel of Overkill’s Feel the Fire and Taking Over, but of course not quite as good…and a decade late.  That being said I have always loved this CD.

These guys apparently changed their name to Magus Beast in 2002 and I don’t think they ever released anything else.

If you dig Overkill’s early sound, then certainly download this and you won’t be disappointed.

Written by The Metal Files

November 15, 2009 at 9:16 pm


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To be truthful, I’m still only a relatively new fan of Motorhead.  I never really checked them out in the 80s and never motorheadowned anything by them until the 1916 album, which I love.  I first saw them live in 1993 and really only went to see Mikkey Dee and got to hang out with him quite a bit that day.  It was seemingly a down time for them as the Peppermint Beach Club in Virginia Beach, VA may have been half full.  I’m glad to see that their popularity has gone back up in the last decade or so.

It really wasn’t until the last 10 years that I started digging deep into their repertoire and became a fan, especially of the Fast Eddie/Philthy era.  One of the first ones that I bought was the debut album, Motorhead.

I can see why a lot of the punk crowd digs this album because it really is a punk record IMHO.  I love it and it’s easily in my top 5 Motorhead albums.

Train Kept A-Rollin’ notwithstanding, this album is almost perfect.  I never cared for that song after hearing the Aerosmith version my whole life.  Blech!  But the title track, Lost Johnny, Vibrator, Keep Us On The Road, IRON HORSE/BORN TO LOSE!!!  C’mon!  Those songs are great!

Oddly enough, though, I don’t think this album gets enough credit.  Granted the production isn’t the greatest and it’s not really a heavy album, it shows their roots quite a bit.  When people ask me what I recommend to start them off on a band, generally I tell them to start at the beginning and work their way up and this is especially true with Motorhead.  The transition from this album to Overkill is perfect.  Getting the On Parole version is worthwhile as well.


"There’s no message here; you’re gonna screw up your needle, asshole."

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“I have got a secret hidden behind my eyes
A violation tragedy of violence hate and lies.
Locked deep within a chamber, dark recesses of my mind
A tribute to insanity, through hours days and time.”
Overkill’s Feel The Fire came out in 1985 and I first put ears to it in 86 via a schoolmate of mine. My junior and senior years at a Catholic high school were tolerable because I finally had another metalhead to commiserate with. He turned me on to a lot of metal that I hadn’t had a chance to hear yet. Thanks Bill, forever grateful.
Anyway, back to this album. He loaned this and Savatage’s Dungeons Are Calling to me for a weekend and took them over to Kelz’ house to check them out. Now if you have been paying attention, Kelz’ mom and my mom thought that heavy metal was evil. OK, they were on to something in a way but evil music didn’t make us bad kids. We were just kids who liked to rock out with our big white hi-top sneakers with the pant leg of our acid washed jeans tucked in behind the tongue. We weren’t out to harm anyone or ourselves, but I guess parents have a different perspective. Our dads were pretty cool about the whole thing but generally went along with what our moms said just so they wouldn’t have to hear any excessive bitching. I remember my dad once saying, “Son, listen to what your mom says then go do what you want. Just don’t do anything stupid and you’ll be fine.” Sonofabitch, pops was right again. He was awesome. RIP, man. You were the coolest.
OK, so, back to this album. Kelz’ record player was in his attic so we went up and put the Overkill on first. Remember, we were zit faced 16 year olds. I snuck the 2 records in under my arm wrapped in a flannel shirt. I’m sure his mom knew I had records but she wasn’t overly nosey that day.
We put the needle on and heard the creepy intro. It was pretty wild. We had never heard Overkill and the opening track kicks in with a wicked evil laugh from Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth. Were a little freaked out but the whole thing just crushed. We were also tripping out on the backwards masking at the end of the album. A year or 2 later we figured out that it said, “There’s no message here; you’re gonna screw up your needle, asshole.”
We spun the record once again. Completely badass…and evil. Perfection. Gustafson’s riffs, rat Skates’ frantic drumming and DD’s clanky Rickenbacker bass tone made for a perfect background for Blitz’ vocals.
There’s not a stinker on here and I will forever recommend it to any metalhead…although if you were a true metalhead, you’d already own it. Right? Right!
By the way, I don’t think we ever spun the Savatage, which is a good record in its own right, but it’s no Feel The Fire.

Written by The Metal Files

August 20, 2008 at 5:03 pm

Posted in 1986, heavy metal, kelz' mom, overkill

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