Overhate - Relentless Is Our Strength
It just goes to show the extent to which metal has conquered the world. Overhate play a brand of thrash metal that lies somewhere between Black Sabbath and Slayer and that means they have a lot of competition when it comes to making a name for themselves for that is a crowded market. The difficulty with any thrash metal album is to distinguish itself from the competition. Overhate have made a good attempt, but fallen somewhat short of that aim.
The album kicks of with "When Nothing Is Mine" and promises much. There is a driving riff and some powerful drumming. However, the potential problems have already begun to rear their heads. Vocalist Giancarlo Vettor alternately sings and growls and ends up doing something half way in between. Overhate sing in English and so the listener is drawn towards the lyrical content having settled into the groove of the music.
At this point the listener can detect a theme running through the album. There is a greater degree of social awareness, even politics with a small "p", in the lyrics. This certainly makes a change from running through forests being chased by gnomes or whatever and offers Overhate scope to really develop their music and their lyrical themes. "International Slavery Song" is emblematic of the chance this theme offers the band and is followed up later by "In This Disgusting Planet" which deals with the broad themes of not just environmentalism but how we as a species have failed to live up to our own expectations while at the same time spoiling things for our children. The album's stand out track is undoubtedly "4204". This nine minute epic has a more personal feel to it, with the best guitar solo and lyrics on the album. Hardly surprising that it should be a tribute to the dead brother of drummer Joseph Ortiz. At the same time it is a comment on militarism and any society which lives by it.
Relentless Is Our Strength offers a challenging perspective for the connosieur of metal. Technically, this is a good album - taut and proficient in every respect. Even the production is not as heavy handed as is sometimes the case with metal albums. The songs offer a new perspective and show potential for developing themes which have the capacity to mark the band as one which stands apart from the crowd. On the downside, there is not sufficient variation in the tracks to really give the band scope to show their abilities. The clean vocals are better than the growling (but I dislike growling anyway, so that may be an obvious statement from me), but the overall feel of the album is that it is an attempt to bludgeon the message through, irrespective of whether you wish to receive it or not. The tracks are not sufficiently differentiated to make one stand head and shoulders above the rest.
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