Metal legends Overkill and Prong thrash the Sherman Theater in Stroudsburg on March 19
From a press release:
Doors at the Sherman (524 Main St., Stroudsburg) open at 6 p.m., and the all-ages concert starts at 7 p.m.
In an age where music is available instantly and bands appear and fade just as quickly, the power and resiliency that is Overkill, whose initial social media was stuffing show fliers under windshield wipers in the ’80s, has remained as resolute as ever, and even more so.
New frontiers aren’t often conquered in the modern world of heavy metal, yet they remain unfazed by the growing presence of social media, modern internet, a demand for streaming services, and a general sense of competition between the sea of other metal bands trying to make a name for themselves today.
It’s with over 30 years under their leather belts that these New Jersey natives unveiled their latest offering, “The Wings of War.” With 10 tracks clocking in at 51 minutes, their 19th full-length album is the ultimate combination of sickening brutality and addictive melody. It was yet another incredible album cover design by Travis Smith that sparked the idea of what to name this 2019 album. With five of the iconic Overkill winged skulls brooding powerfully around the table seemingly prepared for battle, “The Wings of War” simply rolled off the tongue.
With the fresh addition of seasoned drummer Jason Bittner (ex-Shadows Fall, Flotsam and Jetsam, Stigmata), Overkill experienced a new chemistry this time around, truly giving the record a unique feel. The writing was funneled through its familiar foundation but now had a fresh influence and energy that inspired the entire band.
“We’ve never had an identity crisis,” frontman Bobby Blitz said, “but we still like raising an eyebrow from time to time!”
Morphing into the modern day and taking advantage of the convenience of technological advances, this old school group of guys utilized technology for its instantaneous qualities that help fuel their momentum and prevent the build up of stagnant ideas.
Although bassist DD Verni and guitarist Dave Linsk have their own recording set up, Overkill went out of house for their drum recording to longtime friend Joey De Maio of Shorefire Studios in Long Branch, New Jersey, and for their vocals to Johnny Rod of Rockland County, New York. The real guitar work was accomplished at Verni’s studio. Blitz absorbed the sounds and filled in the guts with melodies, phonetics, and dirty sweet lyrics, and the songs developed organically.
Album opener “Last Man Standing” is Overkill kicking the door in with a hard and loud tune that’s rooted in some of the best angst that thrash possesses. Memories retained from this song are memories similar to the classic ’80s vibe but with a new age mechanical feel that thoroughly updates it. This was also the first song recorded with newcomer Jason Bittner.
The album’s second single, “Head of a Pin,” is a lyrical journey about disappointment and trust. Musically, the song comes across as “Black Sabbath on meth,” Blitz proclaimed. It intertwines riffs and vocal melodies that pick it up into a real pounder and create something truly special.
“The Wings of War” also holds something to look forward to for East Coast metalheads with a track entitled “Welcome to the Garden State.”
“It’s all about us. It’s the way we grew up as kids, it’s a certain attitude about the area, it’s responding to ‘We don’t do that where we’re from!’ with ‘Well, guess what, you’re not where you’re from! You’re here, now!'” Blitz explained.
The song sums up the New Jersey attitude with over four minutes of thrashy, punky, honest vibration and defines the band as well.
With the Wings Over USA Tour coming up in 2022, Overkill is on overdrive as usual, with no signs of coming to a halt. This most recent cycle has a different feel – an old formula that evolved with new life and new breath, and that, after all these years, still generates an exquisite power.
Like few other contemporary metal bands, New York City’s Prong is synonymous with a down-to-earth attitude, stamina, and a close bond with their fans.
“Since the beginning of our career, we’ve done almost everything ourselves,” guitarist, vocalist, and band founder Tommy Victor said as he looked back at the group’s intense and extremely strenuous early phase in the 1980s.
“Not only did we write songs and record albums, we also managed the band, looked after the merchandise, sent demos to clubs, and booked vans. Then there were a few years with record companies and agencies involved to support us. Today, we’re back to the beginning; we’ve come full circle.”
The latest feat proves Prong’s great commitment – a new EP called “Age of Defiance” featuring two brand new studio recordings and three live cuts, released via Steamhammer/SPV in 2019. The digital single “End of Sanity” heralded this thoroughly accomplished recording.
The collection opens with the title track, “Age of Defiance,” which Victor described as “pretty unusual for Prong.”
“It’s extremely powerful, with a great groove, haunting chorus – everything’s fresh and contemporary.”
According to the Prong mastermind, the second studio recording, “End of Sanity,” is “a thrash/hardcore/crossover number in typical Prong style which I wrote especially for our American tour with Agnostic Front. If you’re into Prong, you’ll love this track.”
“Age of Defiance” also features three live cuts recorded by Victor and company during their major headlining tour at the club Huxley’s Neue Welt in Berlin, Germany in April of 2015: “Rude Awakening” from the same-named 1996 opus, plus “Another Worldly Device” and “Cut Rate” from the 1994 major label album “Cleansing.” These five songs forge an arc between past, present, and future.
This post was compiled by the staff of NEPA Scene.