Posted by JBesanko92
Hey guys, and welcome to my first ever instalment of Retro Reviews! In this new segment, I’ll be writing reviews for, and talking about any and all, full-length albums or EPs I’ve found interesting, enjoyed, or was disappointed by (whether they be old or new). Also, don’t expect just the usual blend of albums and EPs, either. I plan to occasionally mix things up a bit with compilations or “Best Of’s” (or anything else I may find) that I own in my collection, as well. Hell, it’s a blog, and I figure I’m not as restricted in the content I can provide, so why not, right?
To kick start this new segment, I’ll be opening with an EP I came across only recently. It’s the self-titled debut by Oxford-based stoner rockers, Overlord. They liked me on Twitter at one point, and that was how I discovered their bandcamp page (links at the end of this review), and I have to say it was quite a cool little find!
So, read on, and I hope you enjoy this new segment.
Retro Reviews #1
Overlord – Overlord, EP (2012)
Founded in 2011, the aim of Overlord, according to their bandcamp, is to “play a fresh, modern take on the dark, progressive rock/early metal bands of the 1970s, informed as much by modern thrash/groove metal as they are by traditional blues.” This is quite a good summary of this band, and listening through Overlord, the 70s are made immediately noticeable as the high level of fuzz and distortion blares through the amps and assaults the senses in only the first few opening seconds. As the hefty rhythm section kicks in, the evident groove sways over the fine vocals of Tal Fineman, leaving a warm sensation in the ears, and building an ambience that really draws you in.
While it can be said that on this debut EP Overlord come across as a band still coming into their own, and maturing as an act, it can also be said that the level of groove and melody to this EP is quite commendable, as well. This is a band that clearly know their niche and have wholeheartedly embraced it.
The undeniable flare of the 1970s shines through in every riff, every pulsing drum beat, and every coursing bass line, thrumming with the distorted, fuzz-laden power of Black Sabbath, Graveyard, and Orange Goblin.
Overlord’s English roots are only further welcomed here, serving to hearken back to the golden era of British rock and heavy metal; channelling at times the likes of Jimi Hendrix, and at others, the psychedelic, droning beauty that is early Sabbath.
It’s got to be said that Overlord is one of those EPs that only seems to grow on you with each listen. While it didn’t immediately grab me at first, on repeat listens, I said to myself, “how the hell did I not get this the first time round?” The riffs, the rhythm section, and Fineman’s vocals are the absolute highlights of this record, and in every minute of the 18 that make up Overlord you can feel the raw grittiness of stoner rock blaze up within you (feel free to make weed jokes there, too).
Overlord are one of those bands that really understand their genre. They’ve infused their stunning blend of rock perfectly in-sync with the psychedelia that makes up the mix.
Alongside all the 70s throwback, there is also a fantastic slice of melody inserted in here, as well. This is especially evident in the third track of the EP, “The Valley”. With an opening segment that recalls the softer, ‘ballady’ (if that’s not a word, it is now) tracks of Pantera, “The Valley” explodes around the one-and-a-half minute mark as it thunders into an excellent rhythm that is very hard to not sway or headbang along to.
All props must go to Rhys Williams. His guitar work is incredible, and fits so amazingly in with this bands style. I was engrossed in every second he appeared in all his blues, stoner-fuelled glory.
For fans of bands like Graveyard, Clutch, Led Zeppelin, and Electric Wizard, there is a bit of something for everyone here. And Overlord is quite a stellar debut, and I honestly cannot wait to now go check out their most recent instalment, Authors, which was released in December last year.
Go over to Overlord’s bandcamp page and check them out for yourself. I guarantee you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
1. Crawl On
2. What The Hell
3. The Valley