Who’d have thought that a cracking southern metal sound could come from Bordeaux? I certainly didn’t, but Overcharger, the southern groove metal band with big riffs, big grooves and a dirty raw sleaze vibe prove it can. The four piece have been active since 2010 and “All That We Had” is their debut album. Let’s see if they have gave us their all.
Initially, “Streets Of Terrors”, the opening effort comes across with a very metalcore feel to it which is heavy on the groove. Big riffs with plenty of gain and volume behind them, similar to that of Lamb of God are delivered but with a more Pantera-friendly groove to them, especially in the chorus. It’s vocally raw and as the song gets on, it slips between metalcore and stoner groove with minimal fuss. From there though, everything stays firmly in the groove and southern styles.
“Temptations” has a pounding bass groove to open it up before a sludgy chug section gives way to a real lively series of riffs. Raw vocal work, similar to that of Crowbar in parts and mid-90’s Pantera in others go down well over the meaty hook laden groove and the rhythm section is fantastic – the steady drums and thunderous bass really make for a great backing to the guitars and towards the end, it completely switches it up, getting heavier, harder and more chaotic, ending the track on a total curveball. “Down South” keeps the stoner grooves going with some big riffs and Zakk Wylde-esque pinch harmonics. It’s got the perfect pace to sit there and not along approvingly or to headbang to or to get your drink on. It’s really infectious and it sounds quite similar to Stoner-groove merchants PIST with that memorable hook feel and bally sound. The lead in this track is fantastic, some real flair filled runs which roll off the guitar with minimal fuss and sound phenomenal.
“Hidden By The Moon” brings a dirty blues feel to the sound. The opening slide guitar riff, pounding bass and drums creates a rock solid sound which just makes you want to move and when the cleaner style vocals come in they have a real grit to them in a Monster Magnet styled way which goes well with the slide licks. In the chorus the vocals get more raw and powerful and the way the slide and rhythm section interact sounds cool as fuck. The highlight though is the bitchin’ sounding slide solo towards the end of the track just after the heavy and fast paced chugging groove section caps what is easily the strongest track of the album. “Outlaw” blends the metalcore and groove elements with some real tight rhythm work and thunderous guitar tone which gets more of a lively stoner feel in the verses which just oozes the same kinda sleaze Nashville Pussy exude and the twisting blues influenced solo really caps off a pounding track.
“Don’t Get Lazy Bitch” sounds like the bastard offspring of High On Fire and mid-90’s Pantera. Raw, angry and pounding, it just keeps going in the verses whilst the chorus has a real melodic vocal hook to it with some good chord progressions, differentiating it well from the heavier verses. It’s a solid and straightforward track up until the breakdown which has a fantastic bassline to it which sets the feel for a fantastic headbanging section which in turn helps the song explode to life as it draws to a close. “I Was A Soldier” has a hypnotic acoustic intro with a great groove and sound to it, tapping into that southern state blues feel and when the big stoner metal groove kicks in it gets even louder. With its memorable chorus and massive sounding guitars it really comes over as a solid song and when it revisits the intro for a build up spoken word section, you can just tell something big is coming up. The solo is borderline shred and the whole section with the lead in comes across like it would come across in the live setting phenomenally.
Closing the album is “Chainsaw Kiss” and once more, Overcharger revisit the acoustic intro to build it up. With a rich and deep bassline and moody sounding softly delivered vocals to set the mood, it comes alive with that distorted pinch harmonic laden stoner groove riff, capped with some slick wah-pedal augmented fills. Harsh vocals and a steady pace make up the majority of the song with the exceptions being the chorus which has a real catchy progression to its riffs and the lead section which has a thunderous sound and a solo which sounds similar to Polish stoner-groove merchants Corruption. It’s a solid end to the album and a good one at that.
Sothern metal and stoner metal go hand in hand a lot of the time and when it’s done right, it sounds terrific and Overcharger have got the foundations down for that sound, they just need to stick to the groove side of things and ditch the occasional foray into metalcore territory, keeping it firmly in the deep and dirty southern groove which they do rather well. In all, its good, its sleazy and you can kick back and enjoy this one.