Overkill was started in 1984 by Bobby Ellsworth (vocals), Bobby Gustafson (guitar), D.D. Verni (bass) and Sid Falck (a.k.a. Rat Skates; drums) in New York . After self-financing a debut mini-album, they caught the interest of infamous Johny-Z of 'Megaforce Records' who issued their full length set titled Feel The Fire in 1986. The album fully utilized Gustafson's unique guitar attack and Ellsworth's demonic vocals. The platter proved to be competent enough, even though it remained an un-innovative lump of power-Thrash. More speed Metal managed to put them on the map, albeit non-innovative again, titled Taking Over in 1987; the album veered too close in style to Anthrax and Testament for the liking of critics. 1988's Under The Influence, however, proved to be a more confident offering by feeding their growing fan base something their ears could chew on.
After the Years Of Decay (1989) release, founding member Gustafson quit to be replaced by the twin guitars of Merrit Grant (ex-Faith Or Fear) and Rob Cannavino, effectively expanding them into a quintet, a configuration that gave them more musical wiggle room to expand and making the follow-up album, Horrorscope (1991), much more dynamic. The new release also included a cover of Edgar Winter's Frankenstein. After the album's release Falck left and was replaced by Tim Mallaire.
Their label switch to 'East/West' for I Hear Black (1993) failed to increase their commercial standing even though their reputation was expanding aided by tours with Slayer and Helloween; they subsequently moved to the smaller 'Edel' label for 10 Years Of Wrecking Your Neck (1995), Fuck You And The Some (1996; on Megaforce') and Killing Kind (1996). But on the back half of the 1990s they released a set of albums on the CMC' label titled From The Underground And Below (1997), Necroshine (1999) and the appropriately titled Coverkill (1999) which was as it advertised, a disc of cover tracks featuring Sex Pistols' No Feelings, Jethro Tull's Hymn 43, Black Sabbath's Changes, Never Say Die and Cornucopia, Deep Purple's Space Truckin', Kiss' Deuce, Manowar's Death Tone, Judas Priest's Tyrant, Dead Boys' Ain't Nothin' To Do and The Ramones' I'm Against It. This set of albums came and went but of the lot, Necroshine received the bulk of the notice.
After Coverkill, the subsequent line-up change saw Dave Linsk replaced Commeau while Marino's second guitar position disappeared altogether.
Over the years Overkill followed the blue-collar Thrash Metal trends and as of late are utilizing the retro mood without loosing their punch.