Oversense. It’s a non-committal, less-than-obvious name isn’t it? It gives away nothing about the style of the album to follow. And to dub Oversense merely as Melodic Heavy Metal is also painting them into a corner that they will come out fighting from with teeth bared and fists flying. “The Storyteller” is an album rooted in classic German Melodic Metal with progressive elements, some Power Metal and a whole host of added musical sprinkles that keep up the interest throughout the album. Plus an attention to arrangement that many a multi-album signed band could and should learn from.
Now, I don’t like to begin on a downer…but Oversense started it! The intro ‘Forgotten Tales’ might be a gorgeous instrumental piece full of excellent orchestration, but bloody hell is it maudlin! This is the introduction to a Metal album that granted fits nicely with the feel and lyric of opening track ‘Wild Hunt’, but would have been a fabulous, epic closer or mid-track. Maybe substituted for something a little more scene-setting followed by an opener that gets into it’s stride quicker than after a minute and a half. The following track ‘Mr. Mackie’s Chase For Love’ might have been a better choice with it’s Ordan Ogan style chorus and driving, urgent rhythms (not to mention quirky 3-4 waltz time section that adds to the appeal). However, I’m sure plenty of thought went into the layout of “The Storyteller” and it’s such a minor point in the grand scheme of the album – too picky by half, and in a way does showcase the fact that Oversense never really do the expected.
With an overall sound mix that rather favours the vocals (for it IS his band…!), there could be a tendency to let the voice carry the songs, but vocalist/songwriter Danny Meyer is always keen to mix up the tempos and styles in each track, giving a progressive nuance to proceedings that certainly keeps you guessing. As the album continues the influences and moods expand – there’s touches of classic Iron Maiden here and there (parts of ‘We’re Gonna Bring You Thunder’ and the intro to the coincidentally titled ‘Purgatory’ for instance). But this is balanced with an occasional 90’s Gothic Metal style low vocal (one of Meyer’s many styles), and then there’s the utter groove that inhabits ‘Phobia’. You just never know what the next rack will bring.
From the heartfelt ballad-ish ‘The Heart Begins to Shiver’ to the neo-classical Power Metal slant of ‘Last Goodbye’, This is an album with plenty to please many a Melodic Metal fan. Well crafted and intelligent, the first listen is as rewarding as subsequent ones. It’s got lots of layers, but is also immediate enough to drag the listener in quickly. The added bonus of a production by the highly experienced Olaf Reitmeier and Miro Rodenberg (just google their names – there’s too many credits to list…), the whole thing has a polish that belies it’s self-released status. I look forward to Oversense being snapped up by a label very soon and given licence to develop even further.
(7.5/10 Andy Barker)