Overmars
Born Again

Of the recent spate of doomy metallic hardcore bands that have emerged in this brave new millennium to date, France’s Overmars have possibly been among the most overlooked and underrated. Beginning their career with a limited split CD w/Japanese crusters Fugue, the innovative seven-piece was barely a blip on the radar until Candlelight Records issued their debut full-length, Affliction, Endocrine…Vertigo to little fanfare, but at least to a little more distribution. That album saw the group evolve from another fairly typical but notably talented disciple of Neurosis to a more ambitious fleshed out prospect, integrating heavy industrial electronics, Euro-doom atmosphere and artsy-fartsy performance concepts into their sound on both album and stage. Crucial Blast Records, a label with a well-tuned ear for the more obscure and intriguing tones of both the metal and hardcore underground have decided to enlist in the campaign, re-releasing the newest offering, the 40 minute epic single song EP from 2008, Born Again, in North America.

Whether judging a band’s future direction on the basis of one, albeit substantial, song is fair or not, it is immediately notable that the group has, for the purpose of this experiment, eschewn much of the melodic character of their previous releases in favor of a musky, cavernous doom ‘n’ deathmarch approach. Now former vocalist Xavier Therat wrote all the lyrics, and while his deep growls, moans and roars are reliably and remarkably delivered with a recognizably human (and noticeably French) accent in both tone and phrasing, he frequently takes a back seat to bassist/vocalist Marion who when not engaged in dingy rumbling upon her four strings, alternatively intones hypnotically and screams hysterically over the din. The remaining members, stripped of previous melodic and structural considerations are entrusted with creating a spooky, harrowing soundscape over which the two vocalists expel their demons. Benjamin’s drumming might as well have been performed on timpanis rather than a standard rock kit, his low-key and minimalistic, methodical thumping blends perfectly with deliriously droned out guitar work by Antoinne and Pierrick to evoke a harrowing post-apocalyptic horror show. Tiphaine’s synth and electronic manipulation adds an extra layer of dirt, disease and distress signals throughout the fray, making for music which, though composed of metal/hardcore elements, more often evokes an unsettling ambiance.

Ambiance would be the key word here, not to be automatically associated with the relaxing, new age-y tones one usually presumes with that description, rather on Born Again, atmosphere comes first and the listener must first grow comfortable within that context before exploring and enjoying the musical elements of the composition. While that can be easier said than done due to the slumbering pace yet unrelentingly excruciating sonic nature of the epic, the astute audience will find that while this new release from Overmars is certainly not for everyone, it is not for everyone in all the right ways. Within the muck and mire that these Frenchmen (and woman) unmercifully shovel into your aural cavity, there is a singular radiant song that ebbs, flows, develops, decays and resonates beneath the remains of your eardrums, and on the frayed ends of sanity, you will find yourself mysteriously humming along.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by John Gnesin
October 16th, 2009

Comments

  1. Commented by: timshel

    Nice piece of writing. I heard “Affliction…” and thought it was pretty cool. I’m gonna check this one out.


  2. Commented by: Erik Thomas

    I LOVED Affliction, Endocrine…Vertigo, but im having a hard time getting into this. maybe the 1 song, 45 minute deal?


  3. Commented by: xaden

    this was an absolutely stunning release.their best work so far.the collaboration with kill the thrill was pretty awesome too.


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