Released: 2017, Hostile Madia
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
Overoth, a death metal group from Belfast, Ireland, have returned to the scene with their second studio album ‘The Forgotten Tome’. Seven years have passed since their debut album ‘Kingdom of Shadows’, which received mixed reviews from critics, who generally applauded their impressive vocals and instrumental work but lambasted their originality - most of the songs sounded like copy-and-paste products, good, but far too similar to each other. Their latest offering though shows they are back in a big way, and the ten tracks and over forty minutes of old school death metal on this album show they are here to stay. On the album the band comments:
“We've been working on this album for what seems like an eon, but finally we're pleased to announce that our hard work and determination for perfection has come to a close. We actually tracked the drums, guitars, and vocals for this album around two years ago, and we had planned to add some subtle orchestration as we had done in our debut Kingdom Of Shadows... however... when Dan (guitars) got started, the songs yearned for much more than we had anticipated. It would be further months of writing, from violins to piano, to the use of ancient instruments like the duduk and ney flute and then back and forwards with mixing... it would appear mixing twenty instruments isn't all that easy! We also had a grand vision for the artwork and working with a talent such as Will Simpson was a great experience, he really did bring our vision to life”.
The opening track is “Opus Obscura”, a nice little instrumental intro track, a brief orchestral palate cleanser before the death metal main course. The first full song is “Sigil of the Empty Throne”, which has a very enjoyable sound, starting out slow and melodic before the demonic vocals of Andy Ennis come roaring in. It’s a good song and not a bad choice for the opening track, but as is usually the case with Overoth, the tremolo-picking heavy instrumental sections do feel like they’re dragging on occasion.
That is a problem which persists throughout the whole album. Combined with the use of blast beats and double bass kick drumming on every song, every track seems to blur together to the point that there isn’t much of a distinction between one song and the next. Sometimes the only discernible difference between tracks is the vocals and guitar work. An example of this would be the title track “The Forgotten Tome” and “Mar the Gates”, two songs which really stand out from the crowd. “Mar the Gates” is my personal favorite track on the album, from the beginning there was just something special about it that caught my attention and had me listening to it repeatedly.
“The Keeper” is the second longest track on the album, and it is a very good song. It has a great, demonic sound, showcases how much each member brings to the group, and shows how big an influence Morbid Angel was on the band. There is once again nothing distinctive about the good but repetitive instrumental work, but the palpable bloodlust of Andy Ennis’s demonic vocals make it one of the highlights of the album.
The album isn’t bad; it’s just not something that is going to jump out at you. It’s well worth a listen, but chances are that it won’t stay on your playlists for long. It’s good, but not memorable. It’s a shame because I really do think that this band is on the cusp of something very impressive, with their old-school style, mixed with all the orchestral instrumentals that technology affords to even smaller bands now. They have a great deal of potential, but I think that this album is a snapshot from the middle of Overoth’s evolution. It will be their next album that will make or break them, that decides whether they become a big thing or an obscure underground band. They need to make a statement that shows they are different from every other death metal band around, but this album, while enjoyable, is a missed opportunity.