Friday, September 28, 2012

Starkweather/Overmars (Split LP)

Firstly, this brief review is solely catered to Overmars' portion of the split. I'm mostly unfamiliar with Starkweather, but from what I've heard I'm not a fan, so I feel it most fair to write about the band here that I've grown to know and love - Overmars.

I was gleeful when I finally learned last year that Overmars was set to release new material. It had been four years since Born Again was released, and no real news in-between then and 2011 surfaced regarding plans about the band's future, new material, etc… their status was unknown and I assumed indefinite hiatus.

Then news of this split surfaced, which would entail 15-16 minutes of new Overmars material…

Overmars has written some of the neatest stuff in the doom metal department I've ever heard. Affliction, Endocrine…Vertigo in 2005 and Born Again in 2007, the latter being their last release save a for-the-most-part inconsequential split with Icos and a ten-minute EP they put out in 2008 on a 7" offering a different recording of "Büccolision" and a follow-up track.

The two tracks here by Overmars include "Solitary/Following the Sperm Whale (Once Again)" and "Last Sail Sinking," both of which, to my great delight, pick up right where Affliction left off. It's typical weird, experimental, avant-garde, doom/sludge Overmars. "Last Sail Sinking" features vocals from the brilliant female vocalist we heard in Born Again (Marion, also of Abronzious). I read prior to this release that she was no longer with the band but she's sure enough featured in this split. "Solitary/Following the Sperm Whale (Once Again)" begins with a somewhat unsettling sound sample. We hear a gentlemen uttering something undecipherable and some other noises and whistling along with it, along with a gentle guitar melody, then we hear a poor girl let out a shrill scream before everything goes quiet. Then the doom begins. It's quite crushing, and unmistakably Overmars'. The vocals are deep, harsh screams and growls. If there was such a thing as "doomcore," Overmars would have to be at the genre's forefront. The hardcore and post-metal influences are all in this, and it really brings out what sludge can be like with outside influences.

Dynamics are a critical element of Overmars' sound. Hard to soft, soft to hard. Soft melodic guitar tunes followed by heavy oppressive rifts. The only recognizable lyrics: "Sail and sink, on the altar of conviction, sail and sink, embracing an illusion, sail and sink, for the sake of salvation, waiting for death, something's running inside your veins," all sung by Marion, who has one of the most captivating voices and unique style of singing of any female vocalist I've heard in metal.

A full-length of this caliber material would be a 5-star record.

Starkweather/Overmars (Split LP) spinning 

HIGHLIGHTS: "Solitary - Following The Sperm Whale (Once Again)," "Last Sail Sinking"

*UPDATE: I just learned Overmars' two tracks were actually recorded years ago, probably between 2005 and 2007.  And it looks as though the band has either broken up, or stopped playing, indefinitely.  According to The Record Connection. 

Originally written as a review for Sputnik Music: 

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