Overmars/Donefor
In the Arms of Octopus (split)

On my trip to learn something about the bands featured on this split, I had to put my private investigator skills to the ultimate test. The mission didn’t become any easier thanks to the stubbornness of the French and their inability to write things in English (a certain Samuel L. Jackson line came to my mind a few times). So with the help of a dictionary I moved into the realm of chaos. Also, the croissant eaters seem to love making booby traps for us foreigners; while I’m sure someone enjoys a bit of hair in their porn, I admit that after a while the hirsute teens became too much for me and my metan stability, thus forcing me to seek alternative ways to conquer the task. Bloody French, I could almost smell the repulsive odor! None the less, my new strategy (Avoid the thick bushes, that’s where the Charlie’s at) paid off and I finally triumphed and returned to the civilized world more wiser and traumatized.

With the help of the nicely done booklet (again, wish it was in English) I figured out that the two bands share almost the same line up. Now, I’m sure they have their reasons for making up two different bands that play (to an untrained ear) rather similar music, but I still have to question why they did’t melt the two together. Unless it’s because they share completely different members despite the identical names. Too bad good stories have sad endings and I also found out that, apparently, Donefor split after the release of this split; I guess they truly are now done for (Jimbo, throw me a rimshot!). However, when things get less complicated, it also means that I have to throw my highly complex conspiracy theories of different, unknown bands to the trash bin. I mean, it would have been great if one of the two bands was, in reality, formed by evil clones originally cloned from the other band’s members’ genes. In a true Pulp-fiction manner.

Anyway. In the Arms of Octopus starts with the pummeling attack from the over marching martians, Overmars, against Earth somewhere in the vein of earlier Neurosis and acts similar. Mainly slow and mid-paced mass of sound following repetitive, yet hypnotizing patterns that sometimes burst out violently into displays of anger. As expected, vocals scream blood from the bottom of the lungs. While things generally might seem familiar, the Neurosis comparison is just there to give some kind of a idea of the material. Overmars’ lines are a bit more straightforward and the atmosphere is slightly less neurotic than with their American counterpart. I also think that the band could have added some more life to the compositions in order to make them more memorable. For example, well thought and executed, small details such as the use of different instruments and mediums; analog and digital. Things that make the songs deeper and force the listener to balance between the borderline of the mind’s awareness. Of course it’s wrong from me to compare a band that started rolling in the ’80s to a band that has been around for only a brief moment, but it’s only because I care about the band’s future well being. Unleash the potential, dammit! Still, however you look at it the 26 minutes spent with Overmars are moments that you can truly enjoy.

Donefor joins the massacre on the fourth track. Musically they’re more melodic with their delivery and closer to acts like, f.ex, Poison the Well (although a bit more intense I think). In general offering a bit more varied experience than Overmars. For example, their opening song “Evolution” starts with rather pressurizing tone and then half way calms down into a much more mellow entity, only to rise back with a force at the end. Perhaps they’ve got a better grip of this kind of style since the songs are more thrilling and appeared to be constructed on a better foundation than the more ‘experimental’ stuff heard in the beginning. The last track “My Black turns to your Grey” is a 26 minute epoch that begins normally but after crossing the three minute point, it shape shifts into a nihilistic ambient soundscape. Take the more quieter (experimental) moments off from Ulver’s Perdition City and you get the idea of what to expect. Even when the track follows a certain pattern, it still keeps evolving without becoming boring at any moment. The frames are mainly created by a huge bass wall in the background while lighter noises play on top. During some minutes, we also get to hear more recognizable, mechanical drumbeats and of course, dialogue that can’t be decoded. The track gives the Split a powerful and stylish ending.

Overall, In the Arms of Octopus offers 66 minutes of quality music with a nice coarse edge to it. And it truly is a shame that Donefor called the quits since this could have been the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Luckily Overmars is still around. Hopefully they will continue and if they hone and develop their skills, compositions and visions, I’m quite sure we’ll be in for a real treat in the future. Even when at the moment things seem a bit unpolished, In the Arms of Octopus is a highly recommended experience that I found myself listening again and again. Remember to keep your eyes and ears open for things to come.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Mikko K.
December 24th, 2002

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