Released: 2008, Lion Music/Zink Music
Reviewer: Anders Sandvall
Overdrive was founded 1980 and their debut was a five-track EP called REFLEXIONS released 1981. The EP was followed by a studio album called METAL ATTACK in 1983 and the year after came SWORDS AND AXES. After that, lead singer Pelle Thuresson left and the band was put to rest. 1997 saw the band rise from the ashes and reunite at Sweden Rock Festival but shortly thereafter Thuresson once again announced his departure and was replaced by Per “PerilOz” Karlsson. A new EP was released in 2006 which included four old tracks and one new song recorded at Sweden Rock Festival. Overdrive is one of Sweden’s first heavy metal bands and after 24 years they’re releasing a brand-new studio album with all of the original members but the singer.
It’s pretty simple to describe what kind of music Overdrive plays: traditional 80’s heavy metal and nothing else. Their music is technical with a lot of tempo changes and edgy riffs, and despite the 80’s-influenced music the band manages to create a modern sound-picture and a production suitable for the new millennium.
Guitars are handled by Janne Stark (Locomotive Breath, Mountain) and Kjell Jacobsson who are rock-steady axemen that throw out heavy riffs like there’s no tomorrow. The rhythm section also does a great job and provides a solid foundation for the rest of the band to lean on. The weakest link is Per Karlsson, who doesn’t have the voice to carry out the music. His voice feels too weak and generic to handle 80’s heavy metal of this caliber. At the end of the album I’m so annoyed by his voice that I can’t bear to listen to it anymore. Guest singer Chris Catena, who sings on the final track “Reincarnation,” feels a lot more solid and heavy
The album contains not only new songs but old goodies from 1985 and the disc is pretty long at one hour, so you get a lot of music for your money. The main problem with the material is not that it’s bad, but almost every song is in the same tempo. I would like to hear a little more variation in the music; they’re competent musicians but it feels like the songwriting stops them from going further with their skills.
My personal favorites are “Army of Darkness”, “Let the Metal do the Talking”, “Fight to the Finish”, “Bring me to Submission”, “Deceived” and “Gravy Train”, all of which are great 80’s heavy metal with lots of energy and vitality. All of the songs are technical and the guitarists do an amazing job.
The first part of the disc is more solid and heavy than the second part where it feels like they start to repeat themselves. It’s hard to separate the songs from the second part and there are many other bands that do this music better than Overdrive. The best thing about the album is the first part and the amazing production by the band and Johan Blomström. The rest of the album is easily forgotten and not fun at all. If Overdrive can manage to make an album like the first part next time then the rating will be higher.