Just a few years after its former rival Metallica released Death Magnetic—a much-touted “return to thrash”—Overkill showed Metallica up with Ironbound. Of course, Overkill didn’t need to return to its roots, because it had never abandoned them. Even during the '90s—a fallow period for almost every metal band from the '80s—this group of New Jersey believers continued to release material that was as tough and focused in spirit as its early work. Ironbound continues that tradition, but focuses on the rhythms of early thrash. Death Magnetic this ain’t. While Metallica opted for opulence, Ironbound's “Bring Me the Night,” “Give a Little," and “Endless War” are extraordinarily lean and mean. Listening to “In Vain” and “Killing for a Living” is like watching an athlete in peak condition: total exertion, blinding speed, and not a single misstep. Even though it's one of the oldest and most respected groups in the speed-metal arena, Overkill still delivers with the commitment and intensity of a band that has everything to prove.