Thursday, September 15, 2011

National Overdrive

When you talk about Minnesota a few things are a no-brainer, the Twins, Vikings, cold, snow and Jesse Ventura seem to be the topics of interest (did I mention cold and snow).  When talking about music from Minnesota usually one performer comes to mind and yes that means the artist formerly know as Prince (or one of the variations upon the name) and for most people that's really think of, but is there another performer in Minnesota that should be talked about too?

The correct answer is:  Yes.  When I heard about the band the name really had me thinking, I mean what kind of music would they play?  I expected a thrash band or even some type of Southern Rock type thing but I was wrong.  National Overdrive is the type of band that can emerge from a city like Minneapolis (they're based there) and take on the metal scene by storm.

It's interesting to learn a little about a band through their music, from time to time the bands favorite acts have serious influence in the shape of the band and it can detract from that band.  I listened to their entire EP a few times today because I wanted to see who their influences might be but it was stinking hard.  Of the six songs I listened to on the EP (plus a live version of "Livewire" that someone captured on a cell phone and each song sounded different.

Each song sounding different is far from a bad thing, in fact I would add that by doing so they are showing their range and most importantly their talent.  As I scribed notes on a steno pad I "borrowed" from a former employer, the pad was full of the bands that I thought they sounded like and you know what I couldn't tell.  National Overdrive sounds exactly like "National Overdrive" and they sound awsome.


The song "Motivator" is a great song, it really is.  Musically its a very interesting song, it has a killer sound and the vocals are superb!  What makes it so interesting I think really is the vocals, his voice takes on different characters and it fits this song so well.

"State of Madness" is similar to "Motivator" in the respect that its a great song.  The song has such a hard edge and the vocals have an interesting comparison.  The vocals remind me of Iron Maiden frontman Bruce Dickenson (in inflection) and maybe that's because of the title of the Iron Maiden classic "Can I Play With Madness".  I really like this song.

The next song "Determination" is a blistering, hard as steel song and is probably my favorite song on the EP.  This song sounds almost like a hardcore metal song, emoting the bands Testament and Hatebreed,  The interesting thing is that either band could do this song but I think this version is better only in the capable hands of National Overdrive.  Attention the powers that be, release this song as a single.  Please!

In the world of heavy metal song title is every bit as important as band name (don't believe me, would Ozzy releasing a song called "Puppies and Kitties" sell), and with a song title such as "My Fist, Your Face" meets that criteria.  I scratched a note into my notes about the band that I thought this song sounded like Black Sabbath and Alice In Chains (talk about a mean bastard child there), and I was wrong.  This song actually reminds me of a Skid Row song and only in beat, not vocally or musically.  I really like this song too!

"The Cost of War" isn't a line item in the latest budget from the Obama administration, instead its in the "Peace Sells" arena.  It sounds nothing like the Megadeth classic but it, like the aforementioned Peace Sells, has a very nice political edge.  This song is definitely "thinking man's" metal, the lyrics will dig into your psyche, I promise that.

To describe this next song, I want you to channel Alice in Chains because the song "Turpentine" has that dirty edge that drips from Alice in Chains songs.  The song is not a cheap knockoff or an attempt to sound like AiC, but it stands on its own laurels.  Honestly I think that this song is just as worthy as any of the AiC songs.  This little ditty has its own foundation and is set into the metal scene for the long haul.

National Overdrive is a band that I want to hear more of, they are just too good to stay stationary for very long.  Take the time to listen to the band and have your favorite radio station (or satellite radio) and tell them to play this band.  I hope the band can get into a serious tour (Nationwide baby) so we all (me for sure) can see these guys in the flesh.

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