Thrash metal is a genre which as a whole still seems to be happy settled within its original skin but there are numerous bands which carry the intent to at least push and break through its particular hull. Texas hailing Overt Enemy is one such proposition. Initially formed in 2013 as a Slayer Tribute band by vocalist/guitarist Leo Ortiz and drummer Jaime Ayala, Overt Enemy openly embrace the traditional sound and breath of thrash metal and indeed just as unapologetically weave the rich inspiration of the Californians into their own sound yet as proven by their gripping new EP, there is plenty of their own character and imagination to thrust a fresh and adventurous incitement upon the scene.
With a line-up completed by guitarist Rob Hahn and bassist Laura “Slayerella” Ortiz, Overt Enemy has already stoked a potent reputation for themselves as they have grown and evolved their own songs and sound from those early days, one only cemented by their acclaimed live presence. Debut EP, Inception, made for an attention nudging release last year, grabbing even more ears with a re-release earlier in this; the potential and craft fuelling its stirring introduction to the quartet now uncaged and further realised within its successor, Possession, and so much so that it is easy to see Overt Enemy being the centre of much bigger and eager attention.
Possession opens up with its title track and an ear harassing riff, a guitar almost teasing the senses knowing a barrage of intensity and sound is close behind. Once landed, the rapacious wave springs a Pantera-esque groove and in turn a delicious discord woven lure as all the while Leo’s snarling, throat grazing clean vocals provoke and direct. In moments the track unleashes a tenacious assault of ire, defiance, and craft, rhythms continuing to harass and arouse as guitars and vocals strike and enjoyably agitate, the outstanding encounter alone thrusting Overt Enemy firmly on the radar of appetite and pleasure.
The following Pray for Death stalks the listener from its first imposing breath, rhythms again an uncompromising yet virulent trespass only matched by the predacious instincts of the guitars. Once it has surrounded and trapped the senses with swift ardour for its outstanding start sparked, the song twists into another thrash hungry charge. As in all tracks it brings familiar essences yet with its nagging infestation and anthemic clamour, there is nothing but tempting and galvanic fervour exclusive to Overt Enemy.
Equally individual prowess is an open book with it and its companions, next up Blood God echoing that particular attribute as it prowls and subsequently besieges the senses with increasingly contagious grooves and intoxicating exploits. Once again an anthemic instinct wraps the impressive ambush, every groove a thick lure and every melodically bred hook an appetizingly intrusive but tempting incursion.
Truly it is hard to pick an outright favourite track within Possession but In The End We Died provides perpetual thought as it marches forward next, every rhythm and note united like a legion of thrash bred warriors intent on subjugation; a success quickly earned and welcomed. Once slavery is ensured, the track launches itself with nostrils flared and agitational aims in full blaze, the band’s flavoursome mix of sound within that thrash breeding again proving effortlessly magnetic.
Overt Enemy conclude their EP with a cover of Slayer’s At Dawn They Sleep. The band does not fiddle with it too much; the personality of their own sound the only real difference but it still makes for a great version of a classic track and a potent end to a release and we found a real hunger for to go with that for its creators.
The Possession EP is out now through Confused Records; available @ https://overtenemy.bandcamp.com/
Pete RingMaster 21/08/2019
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