“Relentless Is Our Strength” is the most recent offering from the popular Venezuelan thrash/progressive metal quartet Overhate. The progressive elements are welcome, as they add both complexity and dynamic variance to the music, much like renowned prog/death metal veterans Decapitated and Death. With an extensive production team working on the mixing and mastering of the disc, the sound is polished, yet just sludgy and dirty enough, and more bass-heavy than most metal recordings, unless my headphones are deceiving me. Either way, this is an enjoyable kick in the gut.
Tracks like album opener “When Nothing Is Mine” waste no time in tearing faces off with hardcore breakdowns, double bass, and punishing riffs. All par for the course for an experienced metal band. What sets them slightly apart from the pack is the occasional variation in the vocals and the switch to melodic vocals a la Shadows Fall or Mnemic. Jumping from speed metal and thrash to half-time progressions, it’s a good listen.
“International Slavery Song” is where things get more brutal, as if Max Calvera stopped by to inspire the guys in studio. Sped up and sounding inspired by early era classic Sepultura, the dissonance aims through the wall and the pace doesn’t let up. Tracks like “From the Shadows” would appeal to fans of somewhat more mainstream metal and hard rock. While I’m sure some of their fans dislike the direction here, I applaud any intention of expansion within metal. I know there is always pressure within the genre to simply cater to the exact same sound on every release. The heavy melodic vocals are among the best on the album.
“In This Disgusting Planet” is another album highlight, showcasing both the relentless thrash and more rock elements of the band. By the time “4204” comes around, the album has faltered a bit, with the riffs and vocal lines sounding worn and quite similar to the ones on the previous tracks. This is not necessarily a bad thing in heavy music. After all, have you ever listened to Helmet’s “Meantime”? The tone doesn’t change much until the epic closer “Holiday in Wasteland”, which blasts off with frantic toms and intense octave chords before jumping into the main groove. Not entirely progressive and needlessly over the 7 minutes, the track doesn’t ever reach a climax, although the final breakdown is impressive musically. The piano outro doesn’t make much sense in this context, as it felt like the band should have been demolishing this track to absolute shreds.
Overall, “Relentless Is Our Strength” is a solid metal album that has both the positive and negative aspects of many metal releases. The songs sound extremely similar to each other, and it’s questionable whether it was necessary to put 10 tracks on this disc. However, most metal fans, I’m aware, are not looking for much experimentation, so if you’re looking for tight, well-played thrash metal with traces of progressive hard rock and hardcore, Overhate will be a welcome addition to your music collection.
By James Moore: email@example.com[Rating: 4/5]