Once again I’m playing catch-up. The nice folk at Viral Propaganda sent me a bunch of CDs some time ago and I didn’t get around to reviewing all of them because my desk isn’t as tidy as it really ought to be. And I kind of lost a couple under other stuff. Oops. All the more annoying because the ones I just found are pretty good. The upside is if what you read below appeals, you can get hold of them right now!
First up is Overcharger’s All That We Had. Here was me thinking that Bordeaux was only famous for wine, and it turns out it’s also home to this rather fine southern-influenced sludge metal band. From what I can gather, despite being released in 2015, the songs featured are of a mixed vintage between 2012 and 2014. That would certainly help explain the various bouquets in evidence. And with that, I’ll stop the wine references.
“Streets of Terror” sneaks in under the camouflage of some old film footage before smacking you with some death-metal-ish licks followed by some deep grooves. The first major player that springs to mind listening to this is Lamb of God. This mix of brutality and chugging riffage wouldn’t be out of place on one of their albums.
Second track “Temptations” lets the band flex those sludge muscles with a downtuned beginning which is darker and slower than a river of molasses. The lyrical style here is more Great Southern Trendkill with an edge of Cowboys From Hell but the song itself is definitely more into the heavy end of things with some great riffs and headbang-encouraging drums.
“Down South” grabs you from the off with a very tuneful earworm of an intro which twists into more of a sing/bounce-along song. This is a crowd pleaser for those who want to jump around in the pit. If there’s any doubt that groove metal is influenced by country, that doubt it laid to rest by the slide guitars at work within “Hidden By The Moon”. Clean vocals, bent strings and then a crushing chorus make this track a breed of its own.
“Outlaw” kicks in with one of those ridiculously simply riffs that you could write in 15 seconds and then wonder why nobody else has come up with it before. It’s also the sort of thing that gets the hair standing on the back of your neck as you wait for the drums to kick in and get the pit exploding. The track itself is actually a bit slower, more of a toe-tapper, but I do love that introduction. To make up for the slack pace, “Don’t Get Lazy Bitch” is appropriately enough a song to get you smashing around again. Initially thrashy, it turns into a bouncy singalong by the time the chorus kicks in.
Any good southern album needs some acoustic and “I Was A Soldier” grants us thirty seconds or so of skiffle music before assaulting the senses once again with a face-pounding rhythm and wailing electric intro. The sort of song which encourages open dancefloor warfare, it’s a great one to have close to the end of the album before the gentle opening trick is pulled on you once again by “Chainsaw Kiss”. However, this is a much slower song and when the electric instruments join the fray it’s a very different tone to the previous song.
Eight tracks just doesn’t seem enough and I guess at least one thing to gain from not listening to this album for the 6-7 months I’ve had it is that I’ll have less time to wait to hear their next release.