Review Summary: Death-Hop?
One of my most jarring live music experiences in recent times was at Over-Reactor’s third ever gig. It was on a Thursday night at the Esplanade Hotel, St Kilda. A punter towards the back of the room, clearly someone who just wanted a quiet beer after work, was showing some apparent distaste at the music Over-Reactor put on display. Vocalist Ezekiel Ox promptly leapt off the stage and confronted the man, demanding that he explain why he didn’t like Over-Reactor, even going as far as to give the man his microphone so that he could broadcast his thoughts to the whole bar. However, the man backed down with Zeke promptly telling him to ‘piss off to one of the other bars’ at the venue, moments later confessing that he doesn’t take criticism too well if it isn’t justified.
Such is the enigma that is Ezekiel Ox, a deeply passionate and driven man. Two piece Over-Reactor, the vocalist’s current focus, is somewhat of an amalgamation of all of his previous projects. Featuring just one other member in ex-Duke of Windsor drummer Corey Blight, Over-Reactor have proved to be quite the productive little unit since their inception a little over a year ago. After giving away their first two albums (Lose Your Delusion: Vol. 1
and Lose Your Delusion Too
) for free on their website, the duo have released a compilation of the two albums best tracks, calling it simply ‘Lose Your Delusion.
’ On paper this seems pretty pointless, as all of the tracks can be found on previous releases. There is, however, some merit in it the release condenses what are two very inconsistent albums into a more refined and ultimately better entity.
Throughout the album’s fifteen tracks, Over-Reactor move through hardcore, hip-hop, electro and funk at electric pace. The mash-up of genres gives the band a hint of originality that, despite the odd combination, works well for them throughout. However, Lose Your Delusion’s
originality is also its downfall in that it does become quite samey, with the duo seemingly ripping themselves off towards the end of the record. Case in point: ‘Free Music,’ ‘Control of This’ and ‘What the *** am I on?,’ are so similar to each other that it takes quite an effort to distinguish between the three. However, when Ox and Blight do hit the mark, they hit it ***ing hard. The opening four songs feature some of the more furious vocals likely to be heard in Australia. ‘Point to Push’ and ‘Handfed’ are straight up heaviness, with Ox’s roars only propelled further by Blight’s music. Album standouts ‘Gangbangers’ and ‘All Shields Down’ retain the anger while moving down the hip-hop path, showing a distinct Beastie Boys influence. In particular, ‘Gangbangers’ searing chorus is the perfect contrast from its hip-hop infused verses, also featuring the best lyrics on the album, with Zeke seething I know that I want to see the end of Uncle Sam
Moving in a somewhat different direction, the blues influenced ‘Something More’ features Chris Cheney (The Living End) on lead guitar and works a treat, while ‘Naked Words’ boasts the only real clean vocals on the album in a obscenely catchy chorus. Throughout the record, Ox’s politically charged lyrics cut through Blight’s instrumentation. Commenting on everything from Julian Assange to racism, it’s nice to know Ox is as motivated as ever, with his lyrics hitting the mark consistently. Credit must be given to Blight, as he played every instrument on the album and while Ox is the focus, Blight has his fair share of stand out moments (see ‘Best of Worst’s crunching riff or the very tight drumming throughout).
The release of ‘Lose Your Delusion
’ might seem like a pointless exercise, however for anyone new to Over-Reactor’s eclectic style of hardcore punk it’s the perfect starting point. By cutting out all of the filler tracks from the first two albums, it shows Over-Reactor at their most potent, complete with snarling vocals, chainsaw like guitars and thumping drums. While Over-Reactor might still have a way to go in finding their sound consistently, Lose Your Delusion
does indeed prove to be the debut its predecessors couldn’t be.