It’s ambitious, I’ll give them that.
But the question I have about Overoth’s second album is this.
Why does an undoubtedly great death metal band seek to bulk out their sound with enough orchestration for a computer game, when the net result that it sounds less, rather than more, individual?
The band made their name on the honed, classics-worshipping death metal that gained its atmosphere precisely because of its back to basics authenticity.
Dark riffs, a brutal vocal, solos that sounded like cries of the fallen and double kick that rumbled the floor – those were the essential ingredients. And with Overoth, they sounded fresh and current.
So the addition of Behemoth levels of additional instrumentation is a conundrum. It leaves them sounding like a load of other continental bands with no real gain in mood or atmosphere.
No doubt huge effort has been put into those layers upon layers. As they say themselves, they basically tore it apart and rebuilt it track by track.
But what for, when the result sounds like a synthesis of true atmosphere – a Therion-esque Dimmusound of stabbing violins and generic bombast?
I find such studio generated walls of sound hard to get past.
But lets try, because the band’s sharp death metal is of course still the mainstay of this record.
And yet I find it hard not to continue to be an eey-ore.
The snare and drum sound is no longer natural: it’s an over treated plastic.
Those rumbles from that double kick though remain a fantastic weight throughout.
And the guitar solos are a real step up.
Opener ‘Sigil Of The Empty Throne’ showcases one of the best on the album, as the song hammers home. But why it needs an absolutely insipid piano and strings outro stealing all that heaviness away is just beyond me.
Speed isn’t really a thing on this album, but two tracks do ramp it up.
‘God Of Delusion’ and more especially ‘Harbinger Of The End Times’ show that the old attack hasn’t been entirely left behind in this transformation.
The title track hints to Behemoth or Hate, but the Enigma-style monk singing in the background just seems an unnecessarily frilly addition because they’re neither sustained nor a core part of the music.
It’s hard for this all not to come across as a mammoth bitching session. Believe me it isn’t.
I was disgusted when, on releasing the first admittedly too teasy by half promo-video for this album, a load of people jumped straight down the band’s neck without even hearing a note.
I felt that such knee jerk reactions were appalling for a band who had so clearly paid more than their dues.
My criticism is different.
It’s that in a concerted move toward scale and ambition, they have sandblasted out the danger, mood, feeling and attack once so characteristic of their offering.
They’ve replaced those virtues with stock movie-ish sounds that despite the hours of labour and craft that have gone into their construction, sound utterly off the shelf.
I’m not saying bands shouldn’t develop. Far from it.
But they should develop more toward themselves.
I regret to say it, (and greatly), but what Overoth have done here is move toward a sound that while accomplished, is depressingly like loads of other bands, with keyboard pads and swathes in all the predictable positions, doing the predictable things.
The point of underground music is deviation, not conformity, and Overoth’s offering is now as generic sounding as they come.
Can’t really believe I’m writing that, as they’re a fantastic band. But such accoutrements don’t sound ‘big’, they just sound bland, and the songs suffer.
Might I just say that I respect the effort hugely. But it has been misplaced, in my opinion.
Because at the end of it – who will truly remember ‘The Forgotten Tome’?
2.7 / 5 – Earl Grey ::: 23/10/17