The Years of Decay is the fourth studio album by thrash metal band Overkill. It was released in 1989 on the Megaforce label, with distribution handled by Atlantic Records. The album featured one of the band's best known songs, "Elimination", which received regular airplay on MTV's Headbanger's Ball.
The album was recorded with famed producer Terry Date (Pantera, Deftones, White Zombie, Soundgarden). It featured the band's cleanest production to date, mixing the raw approach of the previous album Under the Influence with the more complex song structures and epic elements found on the band's second album, Taking Over. The album also featured a more serious atmosphere and longer songs, including the eight-minute title track and the ten-minute "Playing with Spiders / Skullkrusher." The uptempo thrasher "Elimination" was released as a single, and the music video received regular MTV airplay. Live support for The Years of Decay took place in part with a tour called "Dawn of the Decade" together with label mates Testament. The song Skullkrusher is strongly influenced by doom metal, and could be considered as a tribute to Black Sabbath. It is the only song on this album to feature guitars down-tuned to standard C tuning. The album is the best selling Overkill record so far, with 4 million copies worldwide.