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Overt Enemy - Possession

Overt Enemy
Possession
by Jack Harding at 22 July 2019, 6:53 PM

Thrash Metal as a genre is remarkably insular. Whilst the rest of the world has advanced onwards for better and, in some cases, worse, Thrash Metal has quite comfortably remained in its own little microcosm. A place where somehow it is still the 1980s, and where METALLICA have thankfully never released “Lulu”. I admit, it does sound like a wonderful place. Records like SLAYER’s “Reign In Blood” and MEGADETH’s “Peace Sells…” are the foundations upon which my love of Metal were forged. However, with possibly the exception of POWER TRIP, not a single Thrash band since these golden days has piqued my interest. My one reason for this seems to be this extreme reverence of the past. The genre seems incapable of moving forwards, merely hashing out defective replicas of well worn records, once heralded as fresh and unique. OVERT ENEMY almost escape this identity as a faded photocopy, with brief moments of creativity. However, all too often, they retreat to their comfort zone as a mere copy of what has come before.

Whilst the majority of this EP is nothing evolutionary, that is not to say the music isn’t great. In fact, whilst originality falters, the musicianship on this record is nothing short of flawless. My personal favorite track, “Blood God,” is a raging example of pure, aggressive Thrash Metal at it’s finest. Storming off of the starting line with furiously pounding drums and virulent guitars, no time is wasted with this track. No messing around, just straight to the good stuff. Riffs perfectly weave together, and a variety of different feels ensure that the track never becomes monotonous. Sustained chords interplay with tremolo picking at points in a wonderful example of pull and push that grabs a hold of the listener and engages them fully. “Blood God” doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but when the riffing is this relentless and damn catchy, it doesn’t need to.

Whilst “Blood God” is a perfect example of OVERT ENEMY honoring the past without duplicating it, “Pray For Death” is not so effective. With gang vocal chants of the title during the chorus, I was left laughing rather than head banging. The chants are just a tad cheesy, and in contrast to the rawness of every other element, they just feel out of place. However, the vocals on the rest of the EP are consistently good. Never mind blowing, but always effective. Creepily, these vocals sound almost exactly as if they were performed by Tom Araya. Whilst sounding like Tom Araya is never really a criticism, it does lead to my main problem with OVERT ENEMY; They’re SLAYER. Not “like SLAYER”. They are SLAYER. In any other universe this would label OVERT ENEMY as the next big thing, but unfortunately they exist in a world where we already have SLAYER, and don’t need another. This is doubly disappointing when, in tracks like “In The End We Died” and “Pray For Death” there is such fresh promise in the atmospheric intros. However, this is quickly discarded for a return to SLAYER 2.0. These intros show great creativity, and show this band’s potential to forge its own paths rather than lurking in the shadows of titans, but they never exploit these to their fullest.

In order to move forward in a genre you must surpass what came before, but OVERT ENEMY act as if doing this would insult their muse. Unfortunately our heroes age and then they succumb. You can either sit crying at the tombstone, or march forward taking their lessons in stride. This is a great Thrash album, that anyone into the genre simply must pick up, but it is hard to recommend it to anyone else other than a devout fan of the genre.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 6
Memorability: 7
Production: 7

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Possession
2. Pray For Death
3. Blood God
4. In The End We Died
5. At Dawn They Sleep (Slayer Cover)
Lineup:
Leo Ortiz - Guitar And Lead Vocals
Jaime Ayala - Drums
Slayerella - Bass Guitar And Vocals
Rob Hahn - Guitar And Vocals
Record Label: Confused Records
     


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