Review Summary: Overlord have certainly emerged from the cocoon, but as to whether they have wholly become their own butterfly? That remains to be seen.
Upon the release of their eponymous debut, it was clear Overlord existed in a pre-larval state of nascence. Whilst competent in its musicianship and endowed with no shortage of enthusiasm, it was the EP’s lack of originality, and on occasion diversity, that somewhat diluted its impression. As such, on the band’s sophomore release hinged the differentiation and maturity its particular brand of stoner rock so required. ‘Authors’, the result of a year in passing, may not be such a reinvention but it nevertheless marks a forward-thinking progression that expands engagingly on Overlord’s sound without sacrificing its characterful identity.
The immediately noticeable element of ‘Authors’ is the quality of its instrumentation. A marriage of the hard rock crunch of the 70s and the influence of psychedelic jazz, this contrast comprises one of the foremost aspects of the EP’s creativity. The interplay of each musician is seamless, leading to cohesive yet varied song structures. Riffs are typically ballsy, the bass driving with audible fuzz. Whilst there are no dramatic departures, the most unusual being a misplaced breakdown in closer ‘Switch Off’, the band provides music sufficient to stand on its own merit without becoming repetitive. The overall effect is one of pleasant natural progression that results in a more consistent and textured release.
However, in some respects, it is arguable the band haven’t progressed far enough. The vocal performance of Tal Fineman, whilst having improved exponentially, remains lacklustre, a suitable but uninspiring accompaniment to his instrumental counterparts. In addition, the band still wears its influences on its collective sleeve. Although this has become less of an issue due to a growth in musical maturity, it is arguable that some potentially interesting ideas have been lost as a result in favour of a more traditional approach. Fortunately, ‘Authors’ has enough individuality and is executed with sufficient verve to excuse such characteristics, although a little less in the way of familiarity would be a welcome improvement.
To conclude, ‘Authors’ represents a necessary development in Overlord’s sound that takes a well-worn blueprint and sketches upon it its own progressive niche. There are fresh and stimulating ideas present here, those representative of a band discovering their own identity. The EP is an appealing alternative take on the stoner rock tradition in its unification of the progressive elements of the 70s and the nuances of the modern scene. Overlord have certainly emerged from their cocoon on this release, but as to whether they have wholly become their own butterfly? That still remains to be seen.