There sure are some pretty decent tracks lurking in their debut long-player, Ethereal. “The Charm Of The Sirens”, for instance, is ripped with the kind of base-level addictive chorus that will see the crowd surging forward at their live shows – especially if Threat Signal’s Jon Howard makes an appearance, as he does here. It bursts forth from the wandering miasma of fascinating, spaced-out layering that surrounds it.
Tracks like “Genetic” and “Don’t Let Us Fall Into Temptation” match the scarring rawness of Julián del Sol’s vocal roar to the duelling guitar squall and well-timed mini-beatdowns. Sure, the click on the kick pedal is inevitably going to receive some hate, but the charged atmosphere of these bruisers will invigorate; veins will pulse on foreheads; we’ll be ready for action. And at the other end of the scale? The closer, “Gliese 581c”, is an oddity of gentile beauty.
Elsewhere, the main problem is the lack of track-to-track cohesion. Rather than an album, it feels like three EPs thrown together – 5FDP-lite ballads that give way to grim All Shall Perish ear-melters. In a nutshell, I give you “Shattered Breath”. It divides it’s time between serenading you and ripping your face off. It’s as if soft rock breathed out hard rock which breathed out a screaming metal bastard. It’s an utter lunatic of a track.
They even have a crack at cutting out the really heavy sections and leave us with the stumblingly morbid atrocity of “Rain”. Oh, and that track goes on for seven minutes – every time the track rolled around and the guitar solo kicked in, I found myself gnawing my own fingers, desperately resisting the desire to mash at the skip button. The segueing between the constituent sections of “Ether Ruins” is slightly neater but match it up to any tracks that the Basick brigade of Aliases, Visions or Circles recently managed and it falls short of impact.
They try all manner of electronic distractions, emotive pianos and squealing solos, even tricks like walking the sound from speaker to speaker, but nothing can seemingly save each track and, by design, this album from mediocrity. And their worst faux-pas of all? By opening the album with their weakest track, “Sumeria”. It opens with a formulaic, echoing, heartbeat thrum, and an oddly-warping arpeggio that skids into a technical metal smorgasboard ripped with tone-deaf screams and cleans. Given the spasmodic nature of the song construction, which in itself is unsettling, you are left with little but the gutless chorus accessible, so the listener clings to it desperately like it’s a sinking ship.
A well-read movie critic once eloquently described the first Transformers flick as the equivalent of director, Michael Bay, “beating his chest and waving his penis at us for a couple of hours” – a brilliant summation of a man who chose not to include a similar standard of character development, plot implementation or transition to that which he achieved in either The Rock or the Bad Boys movies. This pretty much sums up how I feel about Overdown and their album Ethereal. If the band has the skills but no dedicated plan on how to implement them, this is what you get. It’s maddening. Fingers crossed then, that for the next album, the Spaniards will spend as much time working their minds as they have working their willies.
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