Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Review: Overoth - Kingdom of Shadows (Reissue)

Overoth are a death metal band hailing from Ireland, who have been active since 2005. The band released their demo, Pathway to Demise, in 2006 and have since accumulated a large fan base due to their strong, energetic stage performances. 2007 saw the release of the group's debut EP, Death Personified, and soon after its release Overoth found themselves sharing the stage alongside big name death metal bands such as Obituary, Watain, Sodom and Unleashed. In 2010, the band released their first full-length album under their own label, Forbidden Realm, and the material has now found its way to a re-release via Hostile Media in an attempt to reintroduce themselves to audiences. Over-hyped or under-praised, which is the route that Kingdom of Shadows takes?

Genre: Death Metal
Label: Hostile Media
Release Date: February 15th, 2010
  1. Kingdom of Shadows
  2. I Am One, I Am All
  3. A Cry to the Fallen...
  4. Summon the Cursed
  5. The Serpent of Old
  6. Led to the Slaughter
  7. Pathway to Demise
  8. Obsidian Blade
  9. Upon the Altar
  10. The Forbidden Realm
Total Playtime: 34 minutes, 57 seconds






Rating: 5.5/10







Overoth are a death metal band hailing from Ireland, who have been active since 2005. The band released their demo, Pathway to Demise, in 2006 and have since accumulated a large fan base due to their strong, energetic stage performances. 2007 saw the release of the group's debut EP, Death Personified, and soon after its release Overoth found themselves sharing the stage alongside big name death metal bands such as Obituary, Watain, Sodom and Unleashed. In 2010, the band released their first full-length album under their own label, Forbidden Realm, and the material has now found its way to a re-release via Hostile Media in an attempt to reintroduce themselves to audiences. Over-hyped or under-praised, which is the route that Kingdom of Shadows takes?

At first impression, there is a heavy presence of evil tremolo picking and demonic vocals that set a dark mood for the content. Helping set the atmosphere is a synthesizer keyboard that provides a short introduction into the first track and also a brief, one minute interlude song that is "A Cry to the Fallen...". However, these elements wear out their welcome around the fourth track when zero deviation is improvised from a seemingly ongoing copy-and-paste pattern of tremolo riffs, blast beats and par vocals. This leaves the album with an unforgivable lack of differentiation between the majority of the songs.


Structurally, each of the ten tracks present rely heavily, almost solely, on tremolo picking to get by. After just a few songs the material becomes beyond predictable and paralyzingly uninspired. The unvarying tremolo picking carries the entire album, save a few power chord riffs and minor palm muting digressions; such as what is heard in "The Serpent of Old" and "Led to the Slaughter". The lead guitar does dispense some tasty solos that are found scattered throughout the content, and they come off with overbearing Dismember and Morbid Angel influences, circa the Domination era. Backing up the guitars are standard blast beat, double bass kick drumming with some hi-hat hits thrown in here and there. Often the drums find themselves pushed down to the very depths of the audio mix, causing a noticeable hollowness to many of the tracks. The bass is heard in spurts throughout the content and offers up a decent, but abridged, solo in "Summon the Cursed"; however, the bass component is voluminously absorbed by the distortion given off from the guitars in most cases. The main vocals are your standard death metal growls, backed seldomly by black metal inspired shrieks; these elements as well find themselves barely keeping above the murky waters of distortion which doesn't help their uncharacteristic lackluster tone. The mixing needs major improvement, as it is not consistent throughout the recording. For example, when the solo begins in "Upon the Altar" it is easy to hear a blunt mixing error where the lead guitar sound skyrockets abruptly; as well as taking into account the varying drum mixing.

There are a couple of tracks worth mentioning, those being "Obsidian Blade" and "Upon the Altar". "Obsidian Blade" has one of the best parts of the whole album, where the music slows down to a near halt, making way for atmospheric keyboards and a fun, original riff. This enjoyment only lasts for a few seconds before the track goes back once more to the crutch of the material; tremolo picking. "Upon the Altar" has the most unique composure of the ten-track list, for a little over the first minute of the song. The listener is greeted with a slow, chugging, palm muted riff with some malevolent string bends here and there. This structure comes back into play about halfway through the song, followed up by a melodic solo and a brief, harmonic sweep marks the outro.

Basically, Kingdom of Shadows is an everyday modernized old school death metal revival album. There is nothing present on this material that makes Overoth as a band stand out above and beyond any other old school death metal revival band. The group as a whole have taken a step backwards from their EP, Death Personified, which offered more assortment in fewer tracks. Unless old school death metal revival is your thing, even if it is, it's advised you let this one pass you by in lieu of picking up an older Immolation or Morbid Angel album instead.

Digital Download Provided by: Future PR

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