For the last year or so, Solid State Records has had their loyal fan base somewhat scratching their heads as to some of their more recent signings and departures. For quite some time it seemed that Solid State was loosing the empire it had built on the foundation of the heavy Christian music scene back in the early 90s and early 00s. I was beginning to give up on the label that once seemingly had a monopoly on the industry and was starting to think an era had ended and that Solid State had gone down without a fight. Thinking about it now, after listening to the impressive debut from The Overseer, it seems the era has ended, but not for the worst.
The Overseer is potentially one of the most mature sounding new bands I have ever encountered. Most young bands take a few releases to really catch their stride and find their sound, but The Overseer seem to have already concocted a recipe that is one part atmospheric, one part heavy ,and all parts delectable.
We Search, We Dig begins with the band’s most straightforward track, “Secrets”. This opening track is the perfect place to start the record due to the right amount of intensity to keep all the metal heads grooving, while adding enough alluring atmosphere to capture the interest of people looking for something deeper. It does not take The Overseer long to reveal that they have more atmosphere under wraps than what was previewed in “Secrets” when “Dredge” slowly meanders through the speakers, led by a thick and beefy bass line. It isn’t long before front man Anthony Rivera’s throaty yells come cutting through the morose clean singing, peaking into a symphony of reverb drenched tremolo picking. By the end of “Dredge” we find Rivera shouting “Tens by ten thousandths/ We Search, we dig” over a break down that surprisingly relies more on drawn out chords than chugging. “Amend” finds the band doing their musical calisthenics as they switch flawlessly from mellow, to one of the most pummeling riffs on the record, back into mellow. “Dreamer” is instrumentally the most in your face track on the record, stomping on the listeners throat and showing no signs mercy until after the relentless first minute. The rhythm section in “Dreamer” instantly impressed me as Abishai Collingsworth decimates his kit with with head spinning beats while Bradley Riggs providing some grooving bass lines with an ear pleasing growl.
The first four songs all have a great flow to them, completely immersing the listener until “Mendacious”, the instrumental track marking the half way point, gives the listener some time to think.
My main complaint with We Search, We Dig is that I truly felt that after the instrumental, the album looses some stream for a few songs. “Traitor”, “Vulture”, and “Lost”, while good songs in the whole of the album had little in them to keep me coming back to the songs by themselves.
However, The Overseer amps things back up with “Estrange”, on of the standout tracks on the record. Guitarist Darren King really steals the show with his powerful, emotional vocals that will surely draw some comparisons to Thrice’s Dustin Kensrue. “Absolve” is an incredible finisher for such a great album, bringing a perfect blend of heavy and atmosphere to the table. Heavy riffing and feedback give reign supreme one moment while the next, power chords and cleans take center stage, all with the skill of seasoned veterans. My favorite moment of “Absolve” and potentially the whole record is Rivera admitting, “I know You’re the only one who can save me from myself” giving way to beautiful piano and gang chanting.
Overall: The Overseer no doubt have a bright future ahead of them after this incredibly solid debut. They bring to the table a sound that normally would take other bands numerous releases to nail down, and make it their own. The only thing holding them back from a perfect score in my book was seeing them play it a little safe with a few tracks on the back half of the record. Here’s to seeing what The Overseer and Solid State have up their sleeves for us next.
RIYL: Underoath, Thrice, As Cities Burn