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Metal in the Modern day


John_RK
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I'm curious to find out how many Gen-Z metal heads there are? If thats even a thing..? If there are any young metal fans 21-22 or younger I'd really like to know what appeals to you most, and what types of modern elements that you think might be interesting style wise to hear blended with metal? I'm a stubborn millennial metal head that refuses to let it die, thats why I'm getting into recording and production, because I want to be in the percentage that helps bring it back to the surface. I feel most truly talented musicians and artists fall under the radar and don't get the recognition they deserve. 

Thought? Opinions?

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On 7/15/2021 at 5:32 PM, John_RK said:

I'm curious to find out how many Gen-Z metal heads there are? If thats even a thing..? If there are any young metal fans 21-22 or younger I'd really like to know what appeals to you most, and what types of modern elements that you think might be interesting style wise to hear blended with metal? I'm a stubborn millennial metal head that refuses to let it die, thats why I'm getting into recording and production, because I want to be in the percentage that helps bring it back to the surface. I feel most truly talented musicians and artists fall under the radar and don't get the recognition they deserve. 

Thought? Opinions?

Main demographic here on the board is "stubborn millennial metal head that refuse to let it die", plus a good chunk of Gen X and the odd Baby Boomer I suspect.  We have some "yoof" here on occasion but once we get out the pipes and slippers, sit down in a circle around them in our high-back chairs and teel them how we used to be room mates with Euronymous, or that Corpsegrinder used to tend our lawns in between tours etc, they soon shuffle off.

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Looked it up, Gen-Z covers people born from 1997 to 2015 so my son born in 2014 just makes it. He is not into metal just yet. He does seem to like when I play music in the car and he'll ask me to put music on if it doesn't automatically come up when I start the car. But his strongest reactions and requests for replays are almost always non-metal songs, usually the Beatles or something similarly sing-a-longy. But he's only 7 so give him time. 

 

My daughter is a millennial born in 1990 so a bit older than the Gen-Z cohort. She listens to insufferable garbage pop music and rap, whatever's on the radio. I do remember her thinking the metal I played in the car when she was a teenager was scary. 

 

I guess it makes sense that the younger generations want to blend things in with metal to make it their own thing. Metal's been around quite awhile now and I'm sure most kids find it stale and boring. As one of the rare Boomer metalheads you'll find here I personally don't want things mixed in with my metal, I prefer to take mine straight thank you.

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21 minutes ago, Thatguy said:

Whereas this boomer really likes all sorts of other stuff blended into metal.  Nothing has a permanent, substantiial being, yet here we are.

That's right Doc, we are right here smack dab in the thick of it aren't we.

I'd say even as refined and cultured as you may be, you're a lot closer to the forum norm than I am. I think most of the Millennials and Gen-X-ers who post here, like you, absolutely prefer some more original takes on metal and welcome influences from other genres blended in and new ideas and such. I'm quite aware that I'm the "purist" outlier who just wants it rough and raw and grim and nasty all the time and would like nothing more than to see black and death metal and crust stay exactly the same more or less as they have been for the rest of my natural life, whatever few dwindling years might be left of it. Fortunately here in the modern digital era there are several thousand metal albums released each year so it seems like there's something that might appeal to just about anyone and everyone. Or everyone except Deadovic, as we know he hates pretty much everything that's come out since he graduated uni.

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Thanks for the post guys, and I totally get wanting metal to keep that raw, gritty, anger, its what I've related to and why I've loved metal for so long now. I'm 29 and have listened to metal well over half my life. And to be Honest I don't think metal or rock can ever truly die, it only recedes back into the shadows waiting for an opportune time to strike. But getting back to the industry though, I question how legitimate the climb to the top was for so many of these top charting songs.... Most shit on on the radio or the surface of spotify is there because said artists have a team working behind them who know how to manipulate algorithms of websites to their favour as well as people that basically script their social media for them to be more "appealing" or "interesting" to viewers. They aren't getting noticed because of ground breaking music, they get noticed because theres a professional team that knows how to flaunt their image to the masses and when their faces are flooding social media and what not its almost impossible for smaller bands/artists who don't have that kind of money or backing to stick out as much. And I'm sure a lot of people probably feel this way, I have for quite a while, but since I started taking this music course it's been force fed on me. It isn't just a part of the industry, its literally the crap they teach you in music institutes, its maddening. But I just do my best to grin and bear it through those brain-dead classes. So maybe I am that one willing to step into the dark side of the industry if it means I can support the musicians and artists that deserve it... The ones who actually write soulful, meaningful lyrics, anger or sadness aside they are singing about things that matter and play music that you can feel in your heart, not just feel the the excessive use of bass. I wonder if pop fans would still be so complacent to be spoon fed that BS if they knew just how much they themselves are being manipulated by those in the industry that know how to play the system, so much of this happens now because of automated systems and AI's that look after that stuff and the thing about AI programs is advanced as they seem, they're limited and because of that is unfortunately easy to manipulate it when you know what to do.

That was a slightly longer tangent then I planned for, so if you made it down here, thank you for hearing me out xD.

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My daughter born 2005 talks to me on the phone about punk, speed metal and black metal. I don't know how much she actually listens, or how music obsessed she is because my only contact is phone. Her mother raised her on Storm, Isengard and the first 2 Ulver albums. I recently bought her some black metal shirts. She draws allot and is interested in playing guitar, drums and doing vocals. 

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My daughter finds bands like Ice Nine Kills and other stuff which I don't like but then out of the blue she'll tell me she's been listening to bands like Cannibal Corpse, Slayer and Flotz. She'll also pop up in conversation with 70's and 80's top 40 songs on cue. My taste is pretty much anything except rap and jazz and before she was a teenager my daughter was pretty much the same, she just listened to a bit more newer stuff than me.

 

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1 hour ago, John_RK said:

Thanks for the post guys, and I totally get wanting metal to keep that raw, gritty, anger, its what I've related to and why I've loved metal for so long now. I'm 29 and have listened to metal well over half my life. And to be Honest I don't think metal or rock can ever truly die, it only recedes back into the shadows waiting for an opportune time to strike. But getting back to the industry though, I question how legitimate the climb to the top was for so many of these top charting songs.... Most shit on on the radio or the surface of spotify is there because said artists have a team working behind them who know how to manipulate algorithms of websites to their favour as well as people that basically script their social media for them to be more "appealing" or "interesting" to viewers. They aren't getting noticed because of ground breaking music, they get noticed because theres a professional team that knows how to flaunt their image to the masses and when their faces are flooding social media and what not its almost impossible for smaller bands/artists who don't have that kind of money or backing to stick out as much. And I'm sure a lot of people probably feel this way, I have for quite a while, but since I started taking this music course it's been force fed on me. It isn't just a part of the industry, its literally the crap they teach you in music institutes, its maddening. But I just do my best to grin and bear it through those brain-dead classes. So maybe I am that one willing to step into the dark side of the industry if it means I can support the musicians and artists that deserve it... The ones who actually write soulful, meaningful lyrics, anger or sadness aside they are singing about things that matter and play music that you can feel in your heart, not just feel the the excessive use of bass. I wonder if pop fans would still be so complacent to be spoon fed that BS if they knew just how much they themselves are being manipulated by those in the industry that know how to play the system, so much of this happens now because of automated systems and AI's that look after that stuff and the thing about AI programs is advanced as they seem, they're limited and because of that is unfortunately easy to manipulate it when you know what to do.

Whilst you make some good points here I also think that there are sweeping generalisations in your post (which you are free to correct me on if I have misread or misunderstood).  Not only “darker” forms of music contain lyrics that are meaningful or are around subjects that matter.  I mean, I have listened to a lot of metal in the past 32 years and some of the lyrical content on some of the more revered albums over those three decades are fucking terrible.

I don’t actually find a lot of music via social media (a platform on which my footprint is limited) and most of my discoveries are from a variety of sources ranging from print media through to blogs and forums like this one.  Not denying that AI and algorithms are key in what drives most of popular music but to say that all meaningful content lies outside of that genre just because of how it is marketed/promoted is just too sweeping a statement.

I don’t believe that metal (or any other genre) ever dies as such.  What we are talking about when such debates arise is a decline in popularity of genres like hair metal that dominated the 80’s or even in the more extreme 2nd wave for black metal in the 90’s.  I would argue that hair metal is only dead from a commercial perspective in terms of there being little in the way of new artists trying to break into that scene or push for a “retro” scene like we have seen with thrash over the past few years.  It doesn’t mean the genre is gone though just because nothing new is coming out or there’s a lack of break through from artists playing that music.  As long as there’s someone out there listening to their Cinderella records then it ain’t dead.

My impression of a lot of underground bands is that they don’t want to stick out that much, based on interviews I read at least.  Most accept that making metal is a second job or hobby on top of whatever occupation the members already have.  Let me emphasise here, I am not knocking your ethic, it is always great to hear people wanting to help bands out (now more than ever) but I am not sure much of your post reflects reality for most underground bands.

 

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That's the cool thing about music, it never dies. I chuckle when I hear the media say that grunge killed metal in the early 90's. No genre of music ever dies, there will always be some people out there that keep it alive because they love it. 

Even the much maligned and ridiculed hair metal or glam or sleaze or cock rock or whatever you want to call it that so many of us love to hate still has heaps of middle aged fans out there who will continue to listen to it. And there are still musicians who will form bands to play it, even if many of them never make it out of the practice room. You'd never know if you didn't go looking for them but those kinds of bands are still out there making albums. As well as bands playing pretty much any other sub-genre of music you could possibly think of.

Sure, some of them are quite esoteric and niche and buried deep underground with very limited appeal to the masses, but when did any free-thinking person ever let the collective taste of the masses dictate what kind of art they will consume?

That's the other cool thing about music here in the digital age. No more music industry suits trying to control everything and dictate what the next big trend in metal or other kinds of music they usually know nothing about will be. Metal bands or any other kinds of bands are free to exist outside that restrictive outdated record label system, they can create whatever they want now and release it themselves and they don't have to answer to or be beholden to anyone.

Yeah, obviously this makes it quite difficult for metal artists to "make it big" going forward and become millionaires, and for many musicians it is now difficult if not impossible to even be able to make a basic living just from their music. But for the fans and the consumers of music it's the greatest thing ever, we've never before had so much choice.

Boggles my mind that some people still believe things were better back in the 80's and 90's when the know-nothing music industry suits controlled what music did or didn't get produced and released and what was available in your local record store. Decisions all based solely on what they thought might sell and could make them some money. Crazy.

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19 hours ago, MacabreEternal said:

Whilst you make some good points here I also think that there are sweeping generalisations in your post (which you are free to correct me on if I have misread or misunderstood).  Not only “darker” forms of music contain lyrics that are meaningful or are around subjects that matter.  I mean, I have listened to a lot of metal in the past 32 years and some of the lyrical content on some of the more revered albums over those three decades are fucking terrible.

I don’t actually find a lot of music via social media (a platform on which my footprint is limited) and most of my discoveries are from a variety of sources ranging from print media through to blogs and forums like this one.  Not denying that AI and algorithms are key in what drives most of popular music but to say that all meaningful content lies outside of that genre just because of how it is marketed/promoted is just too sweeping a statement.

I don’t believe that metal (or any other genre) ever dies as such.  What we are talking about when such debates arise is a decline in popularity of genres like hair metal that dominated the 80’s or even in the more extreme 2nd wave for black metal in the 90’s.  I would argue that hair metal is only dead from a commercial perspective in terms of there being little in the way of new artists trying to break into that scene or push for a “retro” scene like we have seen with thrash over the past few years.  It doesn’t mean the genre is gone though just because nothing new is coming out or there’s a lack of break through from artists playing that music.  As long as there’s someone out there listening to their Cinderella records then it ain’t dead.

My impression of a lot of underground bands is that they don’t want to stick out that much, based on interviews I read at least.  Most accept that making metal is a second job or hobby on top of whatever occupation the members already have.  Let me emphasise here, I am not knocking your ethic, it is always great to hear people wanting to help bands out (now more than ever) but I am not sure much of your post reflects reality for most underground bands.

 

I'm glad you mentioned that. I didn't mean to imply that only darker lyrics are meaningful, that isn't true, your 100% right about that. What I meant was relate-ability, and from my experience I've heard a lot of people tell me that they can't relate to metal because its either to angry or sad sounding.. or they just can't make out the lyrics xD genre depending there. I guess what I was trying to get at is, so many meaningful songs out that are more melancholy in topic seem to be ignored because they aren't fluffy and happy sounding, the message I get there is so many people are more content to be ostrich with their heads buried in the sand to the negativities that exist out in the world, big or small, personal or global -(attempting to not shoot myself in the foot with this statement, I know some are just happy people and thats what they relate to but there are some out there that would rather not acknowledge it, because they just don't care to understand others)-. But my wording didn't come out right being I kind of went off on personal perspective. When I hear whats on the radio I just cannot comprehend how people enjoy such....idiotic lyrics? I just don't get it. Not all of it is idiotic, but a painful amount seems to be. 

On the underground scene I totally understand that, just music lovers with something to express or want to create a piece of art, because music is art. Thats what I love about it, and why in no way do I intend on being that producer/engineer that strong arms people into changing their sound to fit radio formula. At the risk of repeating myself or sounding cheesey, I want to get into the industry to help people bring their creations to life the way they see it. I'm going the indie studio direction, that way it lets the band keep hold of creative control and ownership of copyrights in the event their music brings in revenue. I'll be there to offer a like-mind, space and technical knowhow that they might not have otherwise. Back to the underground groups that want to be in that scene, I don't plan on uprooting them. If they even seek out a studio or producer, I know a lot of underground groups have their own recording set-up often times. As it is, if I do manage to attract their attention, that tells me I'm doing things right.

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11 hours ago, John_RK said:

I'm glad you mentioned that. I didn't mean to imply that only darker lyrics are meaningful, that isn't true, your 100% right about that. What I meant was relate-ability, and from my experience I've heard a lot of people tell me that they can't relate to metal because its either to angry or sad sounding.. or they just can't make out the lyrics xD genre depending there. I guess what I was trying to get at is, so many meaningful songs out that are more melancholy in topic seem to be ignored because they aren't fluffy and happy sounding, the message I get there is so many people are more content to be ostrich with their heads buried in the sand to the negativities that exist out in the world, big or small, personal or global -(attempting to not shoot myself in the foot with this statement, I know some are just happy people and thats what they relate to but there are some out there that would rather not acknowledge it, because they just don't care to understand others)-. But my wording didn't come out right being I kind of went off on personal perspective. When I hear whats on the radio I just cannot comprehend how people enjoy such....idiotic lyrics? I just don't get it. Not all of it is idiotic, but a painful amount seems to be. 

On the underground scene I totally understand that, just music lovers with something to express or want to create a piece of art, because music is art. Thats what I love about it, and why in no way do I intend on being that producer/engineer that strong arms people into changing their sound to fit radio formula. At the risk of repeating myself or sounding cheesey, I want to get into the industry to help people bring their creations to life the way they see it. I'm going the indie studio direction, that way it lets the band keep hold of creative control and ownership of copyrights in the event their music brings in revenue. I'll be there to offer a like-mind, space and technical knowhow that they might not have otherwise. Back to the underground groups that want to be in that scene, I don't plan on uprooting them. If they even seek out a studio or producer, I know a lot of underground groups have their own recording set-up often times. As it is, if I do manage to attract their attention, that tells me I'm doing things right.

Thanks for adding some clarity.  I think a lot of what you describe is actually what makes music in general so interesting; people just get attracted to different things.  Listening habits are so varied and whilst I don't particularly care for the radio (only hear it if in the car with the fiancée) I think it is still a positive that some people find entertainment from it.  

I guess as long as there are individuals with your mindset then there will always be opportunities for bands/artists who for whatever reason don't fit the commercial aspect of music.  I still don't buy that they are disadvantaged because of that commercial market though.  It's a rat race and people like what people like at the end of the day.

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  • 1 month later...

Regardless of age , most everyone has an ear for what a good song really is..

No body wants to hear recycled metal played over and over never adapting and becoming new and staying relevant with the times,  so people kids and all want to hear Catchy music that vibes is packed with real emotion and a singer that can pull it all together.. I have a friend who has a kid that age like 9 yrs old and he loves metal music but not the screaming and crazy singing to much, they think heavy singing automatically means anger and since there young happy and full of joy its not an emotion they ready to embrace yet..

 

There are millions of guitars players writing songs yet very few are actually original and play current modern metal that pushes the boundaries of melodic music,  they tend to sound like everyone else , non die hard fans get bored and move on..

 

Metal in the modern day should be just that MoDern, unique, powerful packed with emotions and be an honest take of ones self expression with out copy cating everyone else.

 

I love metal cause I came from there,  but I'm not impressed like I used to be.

 

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I dunno man, I think there are lots of people who do want to hear "recycled metal played over and over never adapting or becoming new and staying relevant with the times." (whatever that means, isn't truly good music timeless?) For every metalhead that craves originality, progression and innovation there are several more who are quite content with the same old same old. I personally do not rate originality as so important that the lack of it would in any way deter me from enjoying a band's music. To me execution and feeling is much more important, even when a band is walking down a well tread path. I have absolutely no requirement for bands to "push the boundaries of melodic music."

And I would say it's nearly impossible to define what a "good song" is, as in this modern age of 9,999 sub-genres everyone has such drastically different tastes. Having a son who is 7 it's clear to me that what little kids want out of music is quite different than what I'm looking for.  Making this statement just completely inaccurate: "so people kids and all want to hear catchy music that vibes is packed with real emotion and a singer that can pull it all together." Sure, that might be what some kids and some adults want but it's definitely not true across the board, it's certainly not what I'm typically looking for. Metal is different things to different people. And I think that's a good thing.

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Some music is timeless.  Of course we would all feel that what we love is timeless but the other stuff is of its time and will fall out of fashion. And that is true too every musical genre, not just in metal.  I like discovering new stuff not because new means better, but because new means just that -  something I haven't heard before -  and I enjoy that.  New sometimes means genuinely novel and emotionally or intellectually challenging, and I like that too.

Most people -  whatever music or other thing they are into -  just want familiarity.

And GG, what is it with the black background to your text?  It looks like you are doing it for emphasis but doesn't read that way.  If the idea is to annoy Thatguy it is working.

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  • 2 months later...

My buddy's son was born in 2005 and he listens to Amon Amarth, Cannibal Corpse, and the black metal that his dad & I listen to. Unfortunately he's a people pleaser so he's going through the whole "country" phase right now to fit in at school (I guess the way it is these days, is that if you're White in Southwest Florida, you have to pretend that you're "country" despite living in a suburban sprawl that is nowhere remotely close to "country" living like I used to live in upstate NY). But he's still into metal, he just doesn't really show it because he's not very good at simply being who he is.

I saw a kid with a Transilvanian Hunger shirt on a few months ago, told him "that's a great album" and he said "I just like the shirt" and that kind of depressed me a little bit because apparently now it's big in the mumble-rap scene to wear shirts for black metal bands that you don't currently & have never listened to.

I'm sure that zoomers have their metalheads, like every generational cohort does and those are the kids who think for themselves, but the majority of zoomer music is that god-awful mumble rap shit that it takes no talent to make because you aren't really rhyming words persay, you're just making noises that sound like they rhyme. For instance, the phrase "bitch sucked my dick" is rendered in this style of "music" as "BIH SUH MUH DIH" so that you don't have to worry about finding a word that rhymes or counting syllables. And these kids eat this shit up as if it's something worth listening to and not just the real world equivalent of "Tween Wave" (South Park)

Yeah yeah, I sound like the "old and out of touch guy" but I'm fine with that because mumble rap is so amazingly bad compared to artists like Common, Mos Def, and Wu-Tang Clan. It's not that I "don't get it", it's that there's nothing to get, as most of the mumble rappers get famous because they spam themselves all over social media and if there's one thing I know about social media, it's that you don't have to have a smidgen of talent to get popular. You just have to know how to self-promote and self-aggrandize. You generally have to be good looking, dress like what was once called "goth" when I was in high school, take dangerous drugs like fentanyl and xanax, and just... well... mumble over a beat. The reason that this shit is so popular is precisely because it takes no talent to create. You use the Macbook pro that mommy & da-da bought you to make "beats" and then just make noises over them and claim that it's a hip-hop song, and as long as you make TikToks of yourself taking xanax, you become popular overnight.

Now I'm not sure what the next generation of metal is going to be. Hopefully it does not combine the mumble-rap trend with metal to create a sort of Nu-Metal 2.0 but I have faith in the kids now that some of them are going to produce some metal worth listening to. I think it's just that we'll have to really go out of our way to find it, because in order to play metal, you need to have talent on an instrument & an understanding of music. I feel like (most) kids now are too wrapped up in their screens to spend the hours it takes to get good at guitar, bass, drums, etc so we may not see a lot of metal from this generation, but hopefully whatever we see will be amazing and keep the flame alive.

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On 8/24/2021 at 8:49 PM, Thatguy said:

Some music is timeless.  Of course we would all feel that what we love is timeless but the other stuff is of its time and will fall out of fashion. And that is true too every musical genre, not just in metal.  I like discovering new stuff not because new means better, but because new means just that -  something I haven't heard before -  and I enjoy that.  New sometimes means genuinely novel and emotionally or intellectually challenging, and I like that too.

Most people -  whatever music or other thing they are into -  just want familiarity.

And GG, what is it with the black background to your text?  It looks like you are doing it for emphasis but doesn't read that way.  If the idea is to annoy Thatguy it is working.

Just saw this from 2 months ago....I had no idea about the black background Doc, I promise I'm not doing it for emphasis, I just type shit and click the submit reply button like everyone else. I do have browser extensions installed on both on my desktop Chrome and my phone's Chrome that turn all the backgrounds on all web pages black with white text for me 'cause I deffo prefer the white on black. So I don't notice a difference between my posts and anyone else's posts because they all have black backgrounds on my end.

Sorry if this has irritated you Doc old boy, I didn't realize that it would affect how my posts display on other people's screens around the world. I do occasionally turn it off for a handful of random sites that are already using black backgrounds that my darkness thing flips into a weird grey color. And I have to turn it off in order to print documents if I want them to print in standard black on white. But other than that it's always active and I hope you can learn to live with it.

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15 hours ago, Thatguy said:

Thanks for your care and concern. Since I wrote that I forgot about it and I just accept that sometimes your posts have a black background and sometimes they don't.

Why don't you give the white on black a go for awhile Doc and see how you like it? I find reading white text on the black backgrounds much easier on my eyes especially at night. 

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3 hours ago, GoatmasterGeneral said:

I find reading white text on the black backgrounds much easier on my eyes especially at night. 

Agree completely. That was how the satirist/humorist Maddox used to have his website set up back in the glory days of Web 1.0 & it was for that exact reason: it's easier on the eyes. I'm not as computer literate as I used to be, so I do not know how to make text white on black but I assume that there is a browser extension for Firefox that would do it for me.

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    • Full length number 19 from overkill certainly makes a splash in the energy stakes, I mean there's some modern thrash bands that are a good two decades younger than Overkill who can only hope to achieve the levels of spunk that New Jersey's finest produce here.  That in itself is an achievement, for a band of Overkill's stature and reputation to be able to still sound relevant four decades into their career is no mean feat.  Even in the albums weaker moments it never gets redundant and the energy levels remain high.  There's a real sense of a band in a state of some renewed vigour, helped in no small part by the addition of Jason Bittner on drums.  The former Flotsam & Jetsam skinsman is nothing short of superb throughout "The Wings of War" and seems to have squeezed a little extra out of the rest of his peers.

      The album kicks of with a great build to opening track "Last Man Standing" and for the first 4 tracks of the album the Overkill crew stomp, bash and groove their way to a solid level of consistency.  The lead work is of particular note and Blitz sounds as sneery and scathing as ever.  The album is well produced and mixed too with all parts of the thrash machine audible as the five piece hammer away at your skull with the usual blend of chugging riffs and infectious anthems.  


      There are weak moments as mentioned but they are more a victim of how good the strong tracks are.  In it's own right "Distortion" is a solid enough - if not slightly varied a journey from the last offering - but it just doesn't stand up well against a "Bat Shit Crazy" or a "Head of a Pin".  As the album draws to a close you get the increasing impression that the last few tracks are rescued really by some great solos and stomping skin work which is a shame because trimming of a couple of tracks may have made this less obvious. 

      4/5
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