OVERLORDE – Return Of The Snow Giant

OVERLORDE - Return Of The Snow Giant

Summary

Sonic Age Records
Release date: December 17, 2004

Tracks: 12 full length + 39 second intro
Run Time: 60+ minutes

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Hailing from New Jersey, USA, is the band Overlorde – veterans to the Metal scene since the mid-80s, but never able to land a true record deal until now after their reunification at the turn of the century. Blasting through about as many vocalists as Spinal Tap had drummers in years past, Overlorde has now landed Bobby “Leather Lungs” Lucas (formerly with Seven Witches) to man the microphone and to lead the way for the band to pursue bigger and better things. Overlorde has released a small handful of EP’s in the past, and Return Of The Snow Giant, their “debut” full length CD, is a mix of new material combined with material from those previous EP’s. All along the way, however, there is a theme here that loosely relates to this Snow Giant character – creating an epic/wizard-warlock/mythological feel to the record.

WHAT’S GOOD

Overlorde lists their primary Classic Metal influences as Iron Maiden and Judas Priest … and musically they certainly sound similar – actually, outstandingly similar. Mark Edwards on guitar puts forth an eye-opening performance throughout the record. He’s not necessary the fastest player by any stretch, but his riffs, chord patterns, solo style, and sound are as good as it gets. Plenty of creativity oozing from his axe, yet still within the customary boundaries of Classic/Power Metal. Dave Wrenn smashing the skins isn’t far behind … similar to Edwards, he’s not going to be mistaken for Neil Peart from Rush when it comes to creativity, or for Scott Travis from Judas Priest when it comes to technical aptitude, but he delivers a superb job throughout this record nonetheless. John “Kong” Bunucci on bass plays some nice intros and fills on this record as well. Wisely, the band includes, a la Maiden, many extended jams within most songs (sometimes refreshingly sporadic and “unannounced”) that simply rock! You’re not going to find any wadding during these musical jams, that’s for sure!

WHAT’S LESS THAN GOOD

With only a few exceptions, Bobby Lucas at the microphone is a disappointment, and would have ruined the album if the music wasn’t so good. The glaring snafu is that he’s simply too loud in the mix! During most of the vocal passages, his voice tends to drown out the music … now that may not be all bad if he was as apt at hitting the high notes as Rob Halford or Bruce Dickinson (God love him for trying), but he isn’t. In the end, Lucas is over the top on emotion during his singing, is slightly off key when reaching for the high notes, and … and … and there are just too many high notes, especially when used as the kick off for what seems to be the majority of the tracks on this album. Additionally, the production quality of this album is a bit hollow sounding … this doesn’t take away from the superb musicianship, but quite honestly, the musicianship of Edwards, Wrenn, and Bunucci deserved better.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Overlorde is one of those bands that if you were to hear one or two songs on the radio or at a friend’s house, you’d probably take notice and get the initial sense that this band is the bees knees. After all, the creative and inspired guitar work of Edwards is something to behold, and Wrenn’s drumming is nearly equally eye-opening. However, listening to the whole Return Of The Snow Giant record quickly becomes a less enjoyable experience after enduring Lucas’ vocal performance over multiple tracks. Clearly Lucas has talent … these words are not a personal slam against him by any means … Release date: December 17, 2004 just has to reign in his talents to fit the music better next time around, and needs to pattern his voice into the mix more prudently. As a live band, it’s easy to see how Overlorde could put on quite a crowd pleasing show … certainly they have the overall tools to do that and more. In the end, this is a great band to continue to monitor as they continue to develop and eventually knock out their second full-length album under the Sonic Age Records label.

Author

  • Dan Skiba

    Dan is a former partner at Metal Express Radio, and also served as a reviewer, photographer and interviewer on occasions. Based out of Indianapolis, USA he was first turned on to Hard Rock music in the mid-1970s when he purchased Deep Purple's Machine Head as his first album. He was immediately enthralled with the powerful guitar sound and pronounced drumbeat, and had to get more! His collection quickly expanded to include as many of Heavy Rock bands of the time that he could get his hands on, such as Ted Nugent, Judas Priest, and Black Sabbath, to name just a few.

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