Well, the artwork is interesting, but after that, it all goes a little awry. Italian band Kormak is a new folk metal act, led by singer Zaira de Candia, and one has to wonder who was in charge of quality control. Zaira has obviously been professionally trained, but there are far too many times when she goes off key. Now, this may be just about acceptable at a gig (although not really to be honest), but in a studio recording, there is really no excuse. When she tries to sing rough and gruff then it doesn’t carry enough weight or power, while musically the band doesn’t seem to be too convinced if they are a folk band or a power metal band and consequently make a mess of all of it.
But, and it is a fairly small “but”, there is the impression that there is a band with some good ideas that just need to be properly pushed into shape. There are bits and pieces here and there that really are good, and it is often when they are playing acoustically that they shine. What both this album and band need are a strong editor, a producer who can point them in the right direction, but until that happens I can’t see myself returning to this very often, if at all.
To describe this album I think it is probably best to listen to the words of singer Lisy Stefanoni, who says “We love the different styles of folk music and the various approaches of the main musicians. We also love the Celtic music. In the metal genre, folk metal inspires us the most. We listen to bands like Eluveitie, In Extremo, also symphonic projects like Ayreon and The Gentle Storm. Those who love folk-metal will certainly appreciate our songs because we all come from that musical background. We take our fans on a journey to a place where myths are real and there is evidence of the magic forces of our planet. In this world, the listener can meet legendary creatures walking into enchanted landscapes or see ancient rituals happening.” This is the third album from Italy’s Shadygrove, who feature members from Elvenking, Evenoire, and Sound Storm.
They certainly don’t sound Italian but sound as if they have been listening to the likes of Iona and have grown up in the Celtic tradition. With violin, piano and flutes/whistles adding to the mix, and strong female vocals, the result is an album that anyone who has ever remotely enjoyed listening to acoustic folk will gain a great deal from. That I am hearing them for the first time, on their third album, is something of a travesty, and I can see that I am going to have to do my best to rectify that in the near future. This music is definitely right up my particular alley, but instead of being dark it is full of light and dancers. The press release states that it will be for fans of Blackmore’s Night and Loreena McKennitt, but in reality, this is for anyone who appreciates and enjoys great music coming out of the tradition.
– Writers Editorial – I have been resting on this one a lot recently. I have not seen many reviews written in the English language. Maybe I am the first. If I am first I hope I am not last. This album is well worth any attention a reviewer can give to it. I just know I can not get out of 2017 without reviewing this.
For a while now I have been aware of Rockshots Records out of Italy. They seem to recruit talent in the tradition of Nuclear Blast,Century Media, AMF Records, etc .. One band on their highly talented roster that has quickly got my attention is Overkhaos. Their new album for 2017 Beware Of Truth is a well balanced buffet of dark progressive metal and melodic death metal. On the Dark Progressive Metal side they are more like Nevermore, Ghost Ship Octavius and Evergrey. On the Melodic Death Metal side they bring the best elements of Persefone, Insommnium, Soilwork and Arch Enemy. The blend of all these elements is surely to give the band a very broad fan base going forward and without outsourcing a vocalist for the death metal style vocals.
Overkhaos’ Beware Of Truth is a true venture into progressive metal with heavy themes of social commentary on globalism, war, poverty, government secrecy, etc .. A true objective listener to the album can relate and identify with it on both a instrumental level and a lyrical level. Giving the album a great veteran boost is (ex – Dream Theater) keyboardist Derek Sherinian who shows up on Anna’s Song. This album is greatly guitar driven with a twin lead & rhythm guitar attack of both Davide Giancane – Lead & Rhythm Guitar and Giuliano Zarcone – Lead & Rhythm Guitar that both sound like if you were to put Jeff Loomis of Nevermore and Emppu Vuorinen of Nightwish in a band together. This is all blended wonderfully by the powerhouse rhythm section of Anna Digiovanni – Bass and Andrea Mariani – Drums who give this album a serious set of melodic teeth. It is all rounded out by a stellar clean and death vocal attack performed so eloquently by Mimmo D’oronzo – Vocals, who has become one of my newest favorite vocalists in the world. Now I will go further into Overkhaos’ Beware Of Truth.
Prelude opens the album with a strong and very heavy instrumental. The instrumental is done in such a way as to lead the listener into the album. The band spent the better part of 3:00 minutes really introducing the world to their skill set as musicians and give the listener a very broad example of just how well they are as musicians. The band does a excellent job with a rich guitar based chord progression and various time signatures rooted into their progressive side.The atmosphere created is definitely for the ‘metal purist’. This is a very strong way to invite fans of this style of music to your album and brand as a band. This transitions seamlessly well into the following track Silent Death.
Silent Death seamlessly and smoothly transitions right off the Prelude. The transition is served up with a special effect sounding like children at play in a playground before going into various heavy chord progressions and time signatures. Along with the various rhythm and lead chord progressions the rhythm section of bass/drum totally sets melodious roots in the track almost immediately. The drum double blast beats are insane and stay that way throughout the entire album. At the 1:55 mark there is this hugs wall of sound as the death growls and the melodic death metal side of Overkhaos is first introduced on the album. The cleaner vocals remind me a lot of Nevermore’s Warrel Dane meets Tom Englund of Everygrey. All the melodic assault of all the instruments is followed by the soaring lead vocal work of Mimmo D’oronzo. This is a very intense track for the first track with vocals on the album. In conceptual standards this track also seamlessly transitions smoothly to the next song Solar Starvation.
Solar Starvation transitions smoothly off Silent Death. This is accomplished by the band utilizing a sound effect like a radio transmission into space like a signal or message. Soon a heavy bass line along with a heavy rhythm based guitar chord progression with crunch and teeth starts to walk the listener right into the heart of the song before being hammered by a all out blistering twin guitar progression and deep rhythm tones. The band uses double vocal tracking very tastefully on this track in melody with the blistering instrumental. The twin lead guitar really supports moth sides of the vocals, the clean side and the death side. This track shows that the band have a purpose for every guitar line and bass line and drum line.
Khaos Inc. starts off after a very quick transition away from Solar Starvation. The brief sound effect is as if a car ignition has started and the track is about to serve as the motor to drive the album even further along. From this point there is a sick insane lead guitar solo almost in the galloping tradition of NWOBHM with more complex progressive elements. The double blast beats are the anchor in the beginning. The drum double blast beats come in and out with brief breaks and allow the bass and both rhythm/lead guitars to breathe where all instruments have a unique place within the song. This track lives up to its title that it is very unpredictable and takes the listener on a true melodic roller coaster. Through all the changes however, the band remains on point with the conceptual objective to the album. There are some very melodic metal portions here also.
The Lie You Need starts out with the crowd of people demanding the truth. This narrative is soon met with a explosive and thunderous rhythm based intro with big drum blast beats and bass weaving in and out of breaks. This track also has a lot going for it and goes in and out with many time signature and chord progressions just within the first 2:50 minutes. The time signatures are insane. The deathy vocals remain prevalent in this track. The death vocals serve both as a emotion of anger and a proclamation of a thought.
Crumbling starts out with a effect like that of a civil unrest. It is soon met with a blistering opening chord progression that is straight away. The vocals are soaring in nature. There is soon a very tasteful death vocal to accompany the clean vocal. The band has such advantage throughout the album of having the same vocalist shift some many gears in his voice like he does. The twin lead guitar solo puts a lot of bite into the instrumental portion as well. The lyrical content is basically as the title, a crumbling society.
White Light opens up with a atmospheric electric guitar with the vocals filtered into a more regressive passage. It is soon met with the band’s trademark intricate chord progressions and trademark sound. There is a very heavy thunderous rhythm section that beautifully anchor’s the soaring twin guitar lead and rhythm solo’s. The twin solo’s remind me a lot of early Helloween meets Dream Theater. The string section perfectly compliments the vocals. The bass is insane on here as well.
Die Catsaw! transitions seamlessly off White Light with a deep brooding opening passage. This is soon met by a more melodic death metal approach in the vein of Persefone or Mors Principium Est meets Soilwork. The cleaner vocals are more in the way of a Kamelot meets Symphony X. The bass/drum rhythm section certainly adds serious rhythmic depth to the track. This track here also seems to have two distinct sides in the same harmony, that being the stringed section and the deep rhythm section that both shine on this. The instrumental harmony is set up more orchestral.
Anna’s Song (Featuring Derek Sherinian) opens up with a explosive chord progression and of fusion proportions. The signature sound of Derek Sherinian certainly confirms his appearance on the album. This reminds me a lot of Dream Theater meets Virgin Steel in sound. This is certainly a orchestral buffet blended perfectly with heavy elements of melodic and symphonic death metal. I like how the band utilizes various breaks to set up for other orchestral passages. Every time they break in the track it sets it up for yet another passage set to another climax. The rhythm section continues to anchor the track very beautifully and holing every other part accountable where the band remains on point.
Deadline opens up with various guitar time signatures that continue to be beautifully anchored by the depth in the rhythm section. The opening passage is very methodical with every note. The band also has a way to demonstrate every element they used throughout the album on Deadline. This track is done at a more deep rhythm based than for speed to allow the listener to digest the journey that Overkhaos Beware Of Truth. This is also the longest song on the album and the band does a great job making it more a epic that the listener can take a journey with. This track serves as a excellent melodic and harmonious summary to what the band has managed to perform on the album.
Overkhaos’ Beware Of Truth is a True Dark Horsealbum of 2017. The band bring so many metal elements and progressive elements to Beware Of Truth. It is the multiple elements that will open many doors for the band to play live. The band is also a perfect band for a festival like Prog/Power USA or Prog/Power Europe along with Wacken Open Air. A band like Overkhaos serves as a excellent reminder that this brand of progressive melodic death metal will be around for many more years to come. Rockshots Records have a franchise band in Overkhaos. I give Overkhaos Beware Of Truth a 4.5/5.
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