The Years of Decay

The Years of Decay
The Years of Decay.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedOctober 13, 1989 (1989-10-13)
RecordedJune–July 1989
StudioCarriage House Studios, Stamford, Connecticut
GenreThrash metal
LabelAtlantic, Megaforce
ProducerOverkill, Terry Date, Jon Zazula, Marsha Zazula
Overkill chronology
Under the Influence
The Years of Decay
Singles from The Years of Decay
  1. "Elimination"
    Released: 1989[1]

The Years of Decay is the fourth studio album by thrash metal band Overkill, released on October 13, 1989 through Atlantic and Megaforce Records.[2] It is the last Overkill album to feature guitarist Bobby Gustafson, who either left or was fired the band amid a feud between himself and its founding members Bobby "Blitz" Ellsworth (vocalist) and D. D. Verni (bassist).[3][4][5]

Touring and promotion[]

Overkill spent nearly a year touring in support of The Years of Decay. From November to December 1989, the band toured with Wolfsbane and Dark Angel, and a month later they toured Europe with Mordred.[2] They also supported Testament on their Practice What You Preach tour. Overkill embarked on a headlining North American tour for three months, which took place from March to June 1990. Supporting acts for this tour were Excel, Vio-lence and Deceased.[2]

To date, all songs from The Years of Decay have been played live except "Nothing to Die For".[6] According to frontman Bobby "Blitz" Ellsworth, "E.vil N.ever D.ies" is a continuation of the self-titled "Overkill" series of songs from the band's three previous albums, but was not named "Overkill IV";[7] this would be the last song of the series until Immortalis (2007), which features the most recent part in "Overkill V... The Brand".

Reception and legacy[]

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4/5 stars[8]

Jason Anderson at AllMusic gave The Years of Decay a positive review, awarding it four stars out of five. He called it a "classic by the group's fans", and that it "is often mentioned as the pinnacle of the East Coast thrashers' recording career".[8] The album reached No. 155 on the U.S. Billboard 200[9] and remained on that chart for eight weeks, making it Overkill's fourth highest-charting release to date.[10] By May 2000 it had sold over 67,000 copies in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan.[11] Although the album's only single "Elimination" never appeared on the charts, its music video received heavy rotation on MTV's Headbangers Ball,[12] and the song remains a staple in Overkill's live repertoire.[6][13]

In August 2014, Revolver magazine placed the album on its list of "14 Thrash Albums You Need to Own".[14] It was also ranked number ten on Loudwire's top ten list of "Thrash Albums NOT Released by the Big 4".[15]

Pantera reportedly hired Terry Date to produce Cowboys from Hell based on his production of this album as well as Bobby Gustafson's guitar tone, which had influenced Dimebag Darrell.[16][17][18][19][20][21]

Track listing[]

All tracks are written by Overkill.

1."Time to Kill"6:16
3."I Hate"3:46
4."Nothing to Die For"4:22
5."Playing with Spiders/Skullkrusher"10:15
6."Birth of Tension"5:04
7."Who Tends the Fire"8:12
8."The Years of Decay"7:58
9."E.vil N.ever D.ies"5:49
Total length:56:17


Chart performance[]

Year Chart Position
1989 Billboard 200 155[9]


  1. ^ "Overkill – Elimination". Discogs. Retrieved October 18, 2020.
  2. ^ a b c "Over Kill;". Retrieved 2015-12-27.
  3. ^ "Ex-Overkill Axeman Bobby Gustafson Returns To Metal With New Band Response Negative". Metal Rules. May 2003. Retrieved 2014-06-14.
  4. ^ David, Leslie (2010-11-15). "Over Kill - Bobby Gustafson". Leslie's metal. Retrieved 2014-06-15.
  5. ^ "Ex-OVERKILL Guitarist BOBBY GUSTAFSON Slams Former Bandmates, Says Upcoming DVD Is A 'Piece Of S**t'". March 17, 2018. Retrieved September 4, 2018.
  6. ^ a b "Songs played by tour: The Years of Decay". Retrieved 2013-12-30.
  7. ^ "OverKill Interview". Metal-Rules. 2003. Retrieved 2013-12-30.
  8. ^ a b Anderson, Jason. "The Years of Decay - Overkill". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 2015-12-28.
  9. ^ a b "The Years of Decay - Overkill | Awards". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 2015-12-28.
  10. ^ "Overkill - Chart history". Billboard. Retrieved 2014-05-26.
  11. ^ "Sludge Scan For May 2000". Metal Sludge. 2000-05-03. Archived from the original on 2013-04-11. Retrieved 2014-06-15.
  12. ^ "Episode Database - Headbangers Ball Unofficial Tribute Site". Retrieved October 18, 2020.
  13. ^ "Overkill Tour Statistics". Retrieved October 18, 2020.
  14. ^ Popoff, Martin (2014-08-29). "14 Thrash Albums You Need to Own". Revolver. NewBay Media. Retrieved 2014-08-30.
  15. ^ Hartmann, Graham (2015-10-08). "Top 10 Thrash Albums NOT Released by the Big 4". Loudwire. Townsquare Media. Retrieved 2015-12-28.
  16. ^ "UPDATED: Tributes From Metal Musicians Pour In For DIMEBAG DARRELL". Retrieved June 28, 2019.
  17. ^ "Discografias Comentadas: Overkill – Parte I - Consultoria do Rock". Retrieved June 28, 2019.
  18. ^ "DeCulto - "The Years Of Decay": Cuando Overkill se los comió a todos". Retrieved June 28, 2019.
  19. ^ "Ex-OVERKILL Guitarist BOBBY GUSTAFSON's SATANS TAINT: Listen To 'Desecration' Song". Retrieved October 26, 2019.
  20. ^ "Thirty Years Of Decay: Overkill's Finest Moment Revisited". Retrieved October 26, 2019.
  21. ^ "A Day To Remember ... 13/10 [OVERKILL]". Rockhard Greece. Retrieved October 26, 2019.