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
Helvetios World Tour (Australian Leg)
(Melbourne, Billboard The Venue, 24/5/2013)
After more than a decade and five studio albums, Swiss folk metaller’s Eluveitie have finally made it down to Australian shores. As a part of the Australian leg for the Helvetios World Tour that the band has been conducting since early 2012, Eluveitie booked three separate shows in three states across Australia. Beginning with Brisbane, the band then flew down to Melbourne where they played for a more-than-eager group of fans at Russell Street’s own Billboard The Venue (a venue which steadily seems to be becoming the ‘place to be’ for extreme metal bands in Melbourne with groups such as Amon Amarth, Cradle of Filth, and Cannibal Corpse having played there, and Amorphis booked for an October show this year, as well).
After Decimatus and Orpheus Omega both warmed up the crowd, it was time for Eluveitie to take to the stage. Opening with the title track “Helvetios”, they were met by uproarious applause and a sea of horns. Notably, band member Patrick Kistler played a bagpipe that had an Australian flag attached to it, something which the crowd happily embraced.
It wasn’t long before everyone there was completely immersed in the Eluveitie experience. Front man and founding member, Chrigel Glanzmann, has an uncanny ability to engage a crowd. The metalheads were stuck on his every word, and gladly welcomed any opportunity he gave them to throw up the horns, chant, or just shout out to him. Like the mystic druids of old, Chrigel had them under his spell, and held them like that until the show ended.
Performing the Helvetios album in virtually its entirety, while you could tell that not everyone was as familiar with their latest full-length as their older material, it nevertheless didn’t quell the spirit of the crowd. The excellent musicianship and professionalism of Eluveitie cannot be praised enough. All members of the band performed to the best of their abilities, which is much more of an achievement when you consider Meri Tadic had fallen ill and wasn’t able to make it for the Australian leg of the world tour. But even with her absence, Eluveitie put on an incredible and memorable show.
One of the many highlights of the night was when the band performed “A Rose for Epona”. Anna Murphy’s vocals shone through and animated the crowd with a notable sway and lighters held high in the air. During the mid-section, she passed out roses to the people in the front row.
Before playing “Havoc” (their most recent single), Chrigel asked those in the mosh to start a circle pit which they happily obliged to. He then roared to the crowd, “Time to bring some havoc to this mother fucker!” Eluveitie then blazed through five more songs of pure folk metal goodness. Tin whistles blaring, bagpipes squealing, drums and guitars roaring, and Chrigel’s unmistakable growls made for one hell of a sea of Celtic folk metal that not only encompassed the venue, but ensorcelled the crowd.
The energy of the night never died down, and it only served to further heighten when Eluveitie reached their encore phase. Beginning with “The Liminal Passage” and “Otherworld”, the band then exploded into “Everything Remains As It Never Was” from the album of the same name. Followed by “Thousandfold”, the band then made a dedication to a couple celebrating their anniversary that’d travelled from Adelaide to see the band live in Melbourne. They dedicated the track “Quoth the Raven” to them. Closing the night with what is arguably their most well-known song, the crowd cheered in approval as Eluveitie trailed into “Inis Mona” with that familiar whistle-bagpipe intro.
As the band bowed their way out, a sea of heavy metal druids left Billboard The Venue with smiles planted on their faces, and the Gallic spirit in their heart.
Never Flick the Nipple
Welcome to Never Flick the Nipple,
Here is a place for metalheads, fantasy junkies, and whoever in between to congregate and offer sacrificial virgins to pagan deities! Okay, that last bit I made up. But, this is a spot for fans of metal to read current live gig reviews, albums reviews, and just my general ranting. Oh, and it will also be the spot for the occasional update on my fantasy novel, Pantheawar (working title), as well; which is currently a work-in-progress. So, that should be interesting.
So, let your hair down, throw up the horns, and crowd surf your way through a sea of insanity! And always remember, never flick the nipple. I hope you enjoy the ride.
Jonathon Besanko, Administrator of Never Flick the Nipple