Over the past couple of years, countless '80s thrash bands, including Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth, Testament, Exodus and Overkill have experienced career resurgences and released some of their best material since before the dawn of grunge. Some of that probably has to do with the rise in popularity of new metal bands like Lamb of God, Killswitch Engage and Mastodon, but Overkill frontman Bobby Blitz Ellsworth also credits the new wave of young thrash bands such as Evile, Warbringer and Age of Evil.

"I think the new guard of thrash coming up is directly responsible for the new interest in bands like Overkill," Ellsworth tells Noisecreep. "Obviously, if we're incorporating 20- and 25-year-old thrasher fans into our fold, I think their first interests are [younger] bands like Gamma Bomb, Suicidal Angels, Warbringer. But now they can see where those bands come from, whether that be Exodus, Testament, Death Angel or Overkill."


The effect on the thrash pioneers has been twofold. Not only are new fans discovering who they are from younger bands, the intense music that the young bands are creating is causing them to raise the bar instead of resting on their laurels.

"The competition level is high enough or more intense at this point to get some really intense material out of the old guard," Ellsworth said. "There just seems to be one record after another that I say 'Wow, listen to this!' 'Listen to this last Exodus record.' 'Listen to this Testament record.' 'Last Megadeth record.' And I suppose the new Overkill record, 'Ironbound,' to some degree, follows suit."