Leon : This record caused me some headaches (figuratively speaking), not because it was bad but because I really wanted to like the album but it just didn’t reach its potential. The Dutch band Overhaul is a new player in the progressive metal scene and is playing the type of music, in that little corner of the genre, that I really like. In 2014 their first piece of work was released as an EP that carried the name ‘Daybreak’, which contained songs that were clearly inspired by the likes of Dream Theater. New songs were written, a different sound was formed, more like Leprous’ recent work, and resulted into the album ‘Notes By An Unstable Muser’, which is going to be released this year by Freya Records.
Let it be clear that the band was looking for their own sound and they’ve partially succeeded in their mission. Their new sound definitely fits better that the Dream Theater sound and, compared to their previous work, they’ve made huge steps, the songs are much better! Although ‘Notes By An Unstable Muser’ isn’t bad at all, it fails to convince me which has to do with a few things. Let’s start with the production that, generally speaking, is actually quite good, however I do miss a bit of spice in the drums and dynamic in the album, when the music’s more aggressive you want it to blow out of your speakers! Because of this you’re missing some enjoyment in the experience and leaves you a bit unsatisfied. I also believe that vocalist Samuel de Vries should look for a vocal coach, not because he can’t sing (he sings well) but to see how he can best use his voice. Now, he sings in his lower registers a bit too often and it just doesn’t sound that good, he also doesn’t portray emotions that well, and should have a look at his pronunciation of English words (‘the’ was pronounced as ‘de’). I truly believe that this is one of the things that could lift the band to a higher level. The rest of the band play pretty good and play the difficult rhythms and guitar parts really tight, only sporadically I sense that they are having a tough time, so a pad on the back for guitarist Richard Sluijk, drummer Sander van den Broek and bassist Giellian Meessen. Keyboardist Glenn Bergmans did a great job with the sound that he adds with his keyboards, this gives the music that little nudge it needed to be cool, great job! Lastly, the songwriting is fairly good, the foundation is there, but it doesn’t reach the levels of the other bands of the genre. Sometimes it’s really similar to what Leprous did on their latest albums, but those guys are just way better, especially when it comes down to catchy vocal lines.
With songs like ‘Aeons & Life’ the band shows that they certainly have the potential to grow out and be one of the bigger ones in this corner of the genre. I believe that it’s important for the band to play a lot together and to keep writing songs, who knows where they can be in a few years. Overhaul delivers a great debut album with ‘Notes Of An Unstable Muser’ and show that they are a band to keep our eyes on.