Overkill have been one of the most influential thrash metal bands to come out of the east coast, and have helped a lot in shaping the sound of the genre. I can still remember listening to the earlier LPs and rocking out to those riffs. On the other side of the spectrum, Symphony X are a bunch of dudes who hoist the flag of progressive metal high, with a flavor of power metal attached. When these two giants decided to visit Dallas, I just had to go.
The concert took place on the 10th of October, at The Bomb Factory located in Deep Ellum, close to downtown Dallas. I reached there at about 7:30 p.m. and Symphony X were just setting their rig up and doing sound check. They opened with “Nevermore” and quickly it was clear that the prog-heavy structures were here to stay. There was a lot of passion in the crowd as myriads of people started to play air-guitars. They quickly followed with ‘Underworld’ and ‘Without You’, not shying in tempo a bit of change in tempo. ‘Kiss of Fire’ featured the epic choir sounds before taking a thrash metal detour. ‘Charon’ introduced a new dynamic with sing-chorus and reminded me of Dream Theater.
“To Hell and Back” saw singer Russel Allen put on a mask and take us through an epic journey. You could almost feel something grand unfolding. Then came on “Of Sins and Shadows”, followed by “Serpent’s Kiss” and “Eve of Seduction” , all featuring an wizard-like fret-work by lead guitar player Michael Romeo. The tight as rope rhythm section featured bassist Michael Leopold with Jason Rullo on drums. Special mention goes out to Michael Pinnella who peppered all the songs with his keyboard patches and moving melodies, giving a contrast to Romeo’s frenzy on the guitar.
The set wrapped up with “Set the World on Fire (The Lie of Lies)” and “Iconoclast” cementing the fact that they can keep pushing out songs with meaning and density. Another fourty-five minutes flew by and revealed the green hue and smoke-filled view of the stage. Finally, it was time for Overkill to take their position and open up the pit. I wasn’t very sure if I was ready for the mosh-pit. All of that changed a bit too quickly, as Bobby “Blitz” Elssworth stormed the stage with “Armorist” and all was good again. Fast, frenzied and a never ending ride is how I would describe Overkill’s set. They played their signature tracks like “Hammerhead”, “Powersurge”, and “Hello from the Gutter”. “Bitter Pill” had a mid-tempo groove but the same ferocity. With D.D Verni on bass, Dave Linsk and Derek Tailer on guitar and Ron Lipnicki on drums, it was clear by the kind enthusiasm and intent that the shredding and thrashing was going to continue. “Overkill”, “Ironbound” took me back to the 1980s and I wasn’t even born in that era.
Just when it seemed that all was over, they played “Playing with Spiders”, “Elimination” and the famed The Subhumans cover. The pit was absolutely brutal, and I enjoyed every minute of it. Now, my neck hurts but I stay lie horns held high. And that’s how you spend a Saturday evening.