Doom Metal fans take notice – OVERMARS are a band you’ll be hearing about a lot in the near future. Otherwise would be an injustice, as “Affliction, Endocrine…Vertigo” is a breath of fresh air in the extreme Doom world that should not be ignored. After listening to this album many times since I got it in the mail, I’ve got to say that if OVERMARS doesn’t make some waves in the Doom scene, it’s only because not enough people have heard them.
Just by taking a look at the running time and tracklist you can tell that this is an ambitious album. Such ambition on a full-length debut is rare as well as risky, often resulting in a well-attempted failure or backfire. That’s simply not the case with “Affliction, Endocrine…Vertigo.” OVERMARS rings in the album by bludgeoning the listener with “Obsolete,” a track that goes from up-tempo, chaotic Metal with harsh vocals into a dark, drudging Doom break and back. Without remorse comes the 10+ minute “This Is Rape,” a sludgy Doom masterpiece, droning through harsh ambience and devastating riffs. The sound on these tracks is not fair away from that of more deranged ISIS, with a similar celestial quality to the music and the vocals sounding reminiscent of Aaron Turner, though a bit Death-ier, as it were. One-dimensional this is not, however, as starting with “Destroy All Dreamers – Part I,” the album turns into a dark Avantgarde Doom nightmare. Each of the five parts of “Destroy All Dreamers” is a mostly-acoustic piece with spoken or cleanly sung vocals and sounds heavily reminiscent of the post-rock bands of today. These interludes offer a quiet, safe place, a sanctuary in the apocalyptic nightmare offered forth by the rest of the album.
OVERMARS is sometimes beautiful, but at others downright frightening. “Buccolision / The Mistaken One – Part II (Geography Is Just A Symptom” is one of the most disturbing tracks I’ve heard all year. Featuring a pace slower than that of most Funeral Doom and frenetic, tortured female vocals provided by bass player Marion, this song sounds like the soundtrack to a black and white snuff film shot on location in the most remote pits of Hell, directed by Satan himself. I played this track for my girlfriend and seriously spent the rest of the night trying to cheer her up.
The sound of OVERMARS is a perfect blending of the layered, jangly Post-Rock of bands such as MOGWAI and GODSPEED YOU BLACK EMPEROR! and the droning post-Hardcore of ISIS and NEUROSIS, though with a brutal and twisted character of its own. If you like your Doom twisted and disturbing but at the same time eerily beautiful and otherworldly, you must own this album. (Online August 28, 2005)