Review Summary: A musical feast of darkness and aural oppression.
I've heard my share of scary, somewhat disturbing music in my time as a metal nut. And I don't mean music that is heavy for the sake of heaviness, gloomy for the sake of gloominess, or dark for the sake of darkness. I mean, those rare albums that are not only dark at the surface, but those that manage to burrow deep into your mind, heart, and soul, and create an all-enveloping shroud of despair over the listener's thoughts. This short list included Sunn O))), Thou, Godflesh, and AmenRa, and these titans of aural terror have been joined by a fifth. French sludge/post-metal band Overmars is one of the most overlooked gems in the genre. You've never heard of them until you come across them while browsing a forum somewhere, but when you do, you immediately ask yourself how the hell you haven't heard about these guys before: it's actually quite confounding.
When I said the music is dark, I wasn't joking: this really is some of the most powerfully depressing metal that will ever grace your ears. It helps that it's not conventional at all. While the band does have a few quite obvious influences, namely Godflesh and possibly early Isis, the sound that is emanating from your headphones is a sound that is almost completely this French septet's own (yeah, they have 7 members). The album ranges from relatively up-tempo extreme metal (Obsolete
), to 10 minute+ epic sludgefests (This Is Rape
), to songs that are simply impossible to label (Buccolision/The Mistaken One – Part II (Geography Is Just A Symptom)
). The sludge epics in particular are masterpieces, with sections of long, one-note chugging and melodic, post-rocky parts that put the "post" in post-metal. They are accentuated with singer Arnaud's raspy, earth-shattering growls and with various keyboard overlays in the background. These songs are most certainly not for the uninitiated of post and sludge, because, in all honesty, there are not too many people who can sit through, handle, and actually enjoy these. In other words, it's completely inaccessible, and is only recommended to those with prior experience with the genre.
Of course, as stated earlier, there is a more experimental side to Overmars's music: while the aforementioned sludge epics are by no means derivative, they are not the most genre-defying things on the album. On one end of this spectrum, you have the 5-part epic interlude Destroy All Dreamers
. Split into 5 roughly 2-minute sections which are scattered throughout the album in between the songs, these serve as instrumental, yet not entirely vocal-less (they often include some spoken word) respites from the crushing darkness of the rest of the album. These are the first interludes I've heard in a long time that actually add something to the album they're on, instead of acting as mere filler. However, apart from these little relatively light pieces of respite, there is another side to the band's experimental works. Buccolision/The Mistaken One – Part II (Geography Is Just A Symptom)
is a song that defies all labels: it is a 5-and-a-half minute long slice of darkness. While it involves no conventional vocals, it does use some spoken word, some background growls, and a tortured female shrieking that serves as the song's focal point. This is a realm in which there is no light and no hope. The single, dissonant piano line, the strange electronic affects, and the occasional distorted power chord blend together to form a true masterpiece of hopelessness. If you listen to one thing here, make it this song.
So this album is overall an inaccessible, sludgy, doomy, depressing masterpiece of metal. The interspersion of standard yet undeniably good metal songs, sludge masterpieces of an epic length, relatively soft interlude pieces, and tracks that sound as if they were pulled straight from the depths of Hell makes this album a must have for the experienced metal listener. I only suggest that, if you are not used to this kind of music, and do not want your currently happy state of mind disturbed, you should stay away from this piece of sludge brilliance.
This Is Rape
Buccolision/The Mistaken One - Part II (Geography Is Just A Symptom)
En Memoire Des Fables Oui Survecu A Darwin