James B. (wandersoul73) from LANCASTER, TX Reviewed on 6/10/2009...
Without a doubt this is Overkill's finest hour! I've adored this cd for decades.
Mandatory Thrash Album
Melkor | Orlando, Florida United States | 02/10/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"When most people think of thrash and speed metal they automatically envision Metallica, Megadeth, Anthrax, Slayer, and maybe Testament. Overkill should not be omitted from this list. The Years of Decay is a classic Thrash album. Decay would be the last album with guitarist Bobby Gustafson and he and Overkill shine on this one.The opening track "Time To Kill" is an aggressive tour de force with muted rhythyms paving the way for crunching power chords a la "For Whom The Bell Tolls" by Metallica. While Overkill lacks the lyrical skills of some bands "Elimination" is an honest appraisal about the concerns for AIDS in the late 80's and a demand for a cure. "I Hate" is blood pumping anthem for the angry with a catchy, melodic opening chord sequence and teen angst chorus.Paying homage to the metal masters Black Sabbath, is "Skull Krusher" a slow, sludging mammoth tuned low enough to break glass. "The Years of Decay" is probably the only true Overkill ballad which builds to a sing along conclusion. "Who Tends The Fire" might be Overkill's Stairway to Heaven featuring clean acoustic passages, thundering rhythyms, and electric riffs. The album ends with the blistering speed of "E.V.I.L. Never Dies" similar to Damage Incorporated.Guitarist Gustafson employs fast solos drenched with whammy bar improvisation and saturated distortion to complement the very low end of bassist D D Verni and drummer Sid Falck. Many people find vocalists Bobby "Blitz" Ellsworth's vocals irritating, but after a couple of careful listens they really do fit the music. This album is probably Overkill's best produced and best sounding effort. The low end is perhaps too much, but the guitar work was enough to catch the attention of transcription guru Wolf Marshall who acknowledged the album as a masterpiece. Dave Mustaine recognized Overkill's talent from the start and put them on the "Peace Sells" tour with Megadeth. This is truly a landmark thrash album."
Be prepared for one hell of a sore neck!
Sam Allen | Newburyport Mass. | 09/12/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Overkill's fourth album, The Years Of Decay (1989), is by far their best album. For starters, Overkill are one of the greatest thrash bands ever, and over the years, they have stayed true to their original style, which is always a good thing. This album is punishingly heavy, and it features some of the best thrash songs ever written. First off, one of the key parts of this album is the musicianship, which has notably evolved over the years. Vocalist Bobby "Blitz" Ellsworth is freakin' crazy, I wish that the band I'm in, which is yet to be named, could have a singer like him. Guitarist Bobby Gustafson is insane, he can shred like nobody's business, and he can also blast out some great melody solos. Bassist D.D. Verni is awesome, one of the better thrash bassists, but no Cliff Burton. Drummer Sid Falk rocks, he can play super fast or moderately slow.
Now, the tunes on the album: 1. "Time To Kill"; Starts off a bit slow, but turns into another punishing opener, which is what thrash albums should always have.
2. "Elimination"; Definetely my favorite song on the album, the first time I heard it, I almost snapped my neck.
3. "I Hate"; Boy, if there was ever a song to play when you want to rip someone's head off, this is it!
4. "Nothing To Die For"; Another brutal one, always good. Killer solo.
5. "Playing With Spiders/Skullkrusher"; Perhaps if this song were a bit faster, it might not be my least favorite track on the album, but it still is great, and it does speed up quite a bit in the middle. Basically, an epic dirge.
6. "Birth Of Tension"; Another song that is useful when you want to rip someone's head off.
7. "Who Tends The Fire"; Overall, it almost sounds like the classic Metallica instrumental "Orion" with vocals mixed in. Very cool.
8. "The Years Of Decay"; Interesting tune: an opening very reminiscent of Queensryche, and then in the middle it has a brutal breakdown, then finishes the way it began.
9. "E.Vil N.Ever D.Ies"; Ha, get it? E.N.D.! And a great one at that!
This is an incredible album, check it out if you like any of Overkill's other albums, or other thrash bands, like old Metallica, Slayer, Anthrax, Pantera, Megadeth, Voivod, Flotsam And Jetsam, S.O.D., Forbidden, Testament, Exodus, Dark Angel, Atrophy...well, you get it. Also, if you go to Metal-Rules.com, you'll notice that on their list of the top 100 metal albums of all time, this one is number 77. Overall, that seems lackluster at first glance, but when you think about the fact that there have been thousands upon thousands of metal albums, that's extremely good. Rock on, fellow headbangers! \m/"
Yes, this is a Thrash Metal Classic
T. Gore | Neu Joisy | 02/11/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"When the Years of Decay was first released, I approached it with caution, since I wasn't happy with "Under the Influence" "Under the Influence" Seemed like a far cry from "Feel the Fire", "Taking Over", and the EP "F**K You". I had no idea that "The Years of Decay" would not only completly wipe out "Under the Influence" it became their best out of the bunch (Horroscope didn't exist yet, so I am just comparing it to the first 4 albums) SO here were are 14yrs later since its release, and it deserves to be called a classic. Even though its not quite as good as it was 14yrs ago, I still think it is a really solid album and defines the days of Thrash Metal. I believe every Nu Metal fan should have this in thier collection, as most of the younger artist today probely grew up listening to the likes of Overkill and great 80's Thrash. It is a Metal Masterpiece, and it existed in a time that the only place metal heads could get thier daily dose of Metal was LP's, CD's (if you have the 300Bucks for a player and the 25bucks a pop for the disc), and of course our cassetes. Not to mention the fact we only had Saturday Nights of MTV's Headbangers Ball, or some College Radio stations that spun Metal on weekends late night (anyone from Jersey Remember 89.5 WSOU, in Newark?????) SO I urge all Metal fans to add this to thier collection and own a piece of history!!"
Pure, Raw Overkill!!!
G P Padillo | Portland, ME United States | 10/19/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I gotta ask: who has more fun screaming about violent death and dying than Overkill? Seriously.
At the end of 1989 there could be no more joyously rapturous psalm about annihilation than Bobby's Ellsworth's shouts of "eliminate, eliminate!" where voice, energy and tune all effectively convey the band's fever pitch frustration.
My friends and I all had whiplash by the end of the year!
This is one of the earlier efforts of Overkill - and still one of the best.
Remember: Mirror man make you die! "
THRASH METAL AT ITS BEST
Joe Swanson | Boston, MA USA | 04/10/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Overkill are one of the best thrash metal bands to every play. They are up there with Testament, Metallica(old), Slayer, Megadeth, Exodus, and Anthrax. This album proves that and is an instant classic. Every song on here stands out and the songwriting is brilliant. There are super fast songs like Evil Never Dies and Elimination and slower yet heavy songs like Who Tends the Fire and Playing With Spiders. Overkill write brilliant riffs that make you want to bash your friends face in with a bat. This album can be played thousands of times and never get old. The production on this is really good too. I reccomend this to any thrash fan."