Sunday, August 31, 2008

OVERCAST: 8/30/08, Bobby Allen's, Waterbury CT

There are a lot of different ways we wish our pasts had played out. Sometimes, we will ourselves to think back on events, people or other things with a certain reverence, despite the shortcomings of said things. Music falls into this category quite a bit. Some of us like to remember certain songs, or bands, in a rosy light because of what they meant to us at the time.

Seeing as how most of my peers grew up in the Eighties and Nineties, this is mostly bullshit. If I'm at a party with people other than my metal friends, and someone puts their mix of "back in the day" songs on the stereo, all of a sudden I'm not in a party mood. I'm not going to hear Life Of Agony, Pantera or The Jesus & Mary Chain, am I? No, I'll be subjected to god-awful shit like the Barenaked Ladies. Or Eminem, or that one Notorious B.I.G. song that never goes away and everyone sings along to and laughs when they get to say "nigga".

OK, I have a point. It's that sometimes, that thing from our past that we wish was really good actually is. I'm talking about Overcast, the seminal Massacusetts band that pioneered, and dare I say perfected, the 'metalcore' genre. If you grew up in New England during the 90s and liked heavy music, you liked Overcast. They played a million shows with everyone from Hatebreed to 25 Ta Life, at every VFW or American Legion hall within a 100-mile radius of central Mass. The band went their separate ways in 1998, with the members going on to even bigger success in bands like Shadows Fall, Killswitch Engage and Seemless.

The band reunited for a few shows last year, and went back into the studio to re-record some of their old material and come up with some new tracks. The fruit of those efforts can be found in the newly released Reborn To Kill Again, and although I love the original albums I gotta say these songs sound a hundred times better now. Take note, one-man basement black metal bands; production value doesn't hurt.

Overcast lined up a string of dates for this month, and the last one happened to be in the (relative) neighborhood, a quick half-hour away in Waterbury CT at Bobby Allen's. This is a venue I previously didn't even know existed, but it's definitely the perfect setting for an underground metal show. Cheap booze, low ceilings and an all-around sketchy vibe.
There were four opening bands, and it broke down into one good, one OK and two lame. I try not to dwell on bands that don't impress me, but I will give some internet props to Thy Will Be Done (the good band). I saw these guys open for Dying Fetus a few months back, and was definitely digging it. They don't break the mold, but they do slam the shit out of it.

Overcast's set was near perfect, the only complaint being the usual: "ONE MORE SONG!!" They ripped through classics like Apocalypse Upon Us, Grifter and the awesome instrumental track Styrofoam Death Machine. The new songs are 100% bona fide, and sounded like they could have been recorded during the Fight Ambition To Kill sessions. There was no danger of anybody being rusty; every band member's current outfit are notorious touring fiends, so no worries there. The crowd was a collection of most every CT hardcore kid from over the last 15 years, which means many of them aren't kids any more. I did see some gray hair in the pit, which is always amusing, but it proves that this music meant something to many of us, and still does.

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