Overkill @ Hedon, Zwolle, 14 April 2023

A US thrash package was touring Europe for a couple of weeks, headlined by Overkill, with Exhorder and Heathen. I hadn’t seen the first two live before and Heathen only once some 10 years ago. So it was interesting to go to this gig; and as I was in Zwolle that day anyway it was just as convenient too.

One more band was added as a support act, namely Keops. A Croation band that seems to be going for quite some time. They played some laid-back heavy metal style music. It wasn’t all that interesting. Decent vocals really, his clean singing was better than the raspy vocals. The guitar solos were sloppy. The played a Megadeth cover – Symphony of Destruction, quite decently actually. Still a rather dull act.

Then it was time for Heathen, they had some Lee Altus wasn’t there and there was a different drummer too. Nevertheless the replacements were more than adequate. Opening with The Blight off their latest album which is still a very solid album. And it seems like the new material is a more complex than the older songs when they started Opiate for the Masses off their second album. The sound wasn’t all that great yet. Especially the guitar sound was a bit thin. They played 5 more songs in the 40 minutes they got. The Sweet cover was a bit unnecessary and a song of their own may have been a better choice. The set closer was the mighty Hypnotized, along with Opiate for the Masses, their best songs.

The next band was Exhorder. I wasn’t all that familiar with them, actually knowing only a single song off a compilation album. I probably listened to their album once way back, though. Their groovy thrash metal never really touched ground with me. Anyway they started off with an instrumental song, which is kind of weird. They they started Slaughter In The Vatican, which also contained a long instrumental opening section. It sounded a bit sloppy at times. And frankly most of the songwriting wasn’t all that interesting.

The last band of the evening was Overkill. A band that has been going for more than 40 years. I have heard them a couple times in the past. Decent thrash metal, but I didn’t really like the high pitched vocals and it was always and also-there band. They don’t have the staple superfast down-picked riffs. Live it was pretty good. Lots of things going on on the stage. and they played a tight set. Bobby disappeared frequently behind the speaker wall, seemingly catching his breath. The songs they played were from all over their discography, although focussing more on the older 80s and early 90s material. Yet it seems that they never changed styles a lot as these older didn’t sound that different from the songs off their latest album. They returned after the regular set for three encores. And it’s interesting that their seemingly best known song is a cover of a punk rock band, the Subhumans.

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