Call it some kind of dark providence, but back in early 2008 I had three different people all hit me up in the same week to tell me that we really needed to put out a US release of the new album from Overmars. I was already a fan of the French band's 2005 CD/DVD set Affliction, Endocrine...Vertigo, which reminded me of a mix of Neurosis-style slow-motion power and elements of Swans-inspired industrial rock, prog, classic old-school doom, goth rock, black metal, and the more adventurous end of the metalcore field a la Starkweather and Integrity (the former of which actually has a forthcoming split with Overmars on the horizon...), so I already wanted to hear their follow-up, which at the time had only been released in France on Appease Me, the label run by one of the guys from avant-black metallers Blut Aus Nord. After all of the raves I was hearing and the impassioned please to release the album in the US through C-Blast, I finally got in touch with the band and prepared myself for some major heaviness. But when I finally got my hands on a copy and listened to it for the first time, I was floored - that towering black/sludge/industrial/goth sound was there in full effect, but their sound was more oppressive and bleak and epic than ever before, and captured this in a single monolithic song that was almost forty minutes long. Born Again immediately became one of my fave releases of last year, a fucking devestating piece of music that documents the band evolving even further from the simplistic Isis/Neurosis comparisons that have dogged their previous releases.
The album descends deep into themes of self-immolation, horror, and rebirth, and becomes a harrowing narrative as it moves through a series of different musical moods. Overmars had already established their atmospheric, electronically-tainted sludge-metal sound on their excellent 2005 album Affliction, Endocrine...Vertigo and all of the previous splits with Donefor, Iscariote, FugŁe and Icos, but Born Again is something new from the band; this forty-minute epic moves from pulverizing industrial dirge blanketed with heavily textured layers of processed guitar and fearsome gutteral roars intermixed with captivating female vocals, to passages of haunting dark ambience and bottom-heavy churn, and a magesterial finale that stretches gloom-ridden moody riffage, vaporous electronics and dramatic male/female singing across the song's final fifteen minutes, a tense, slow buildup that erupts into an earth-shaking crescendo of super heavy riffage. Immensely bleak and heavy, Born Again brings together elements of Godflesh's industrial pummel, black metal, tribal dirge , the violent nihilism of Swans, doomy death metal, and even some black strains of psychedelia into a monumental metallic black hole .
Like I said, I really loved their last album Affliction, which I thought was an interesting variation on the Neurosis/psychedelic sludge sound with its heavy use of electronics, and if you liked that album as much as I did, I'm pretty sure that you'll be blown away by this darker new form that the band has taken.
This Crucial Blast release of Born Again features a distinctly different album design than the original version on Appease Me, and is also packaged in a four-panel digipack (where the Appease Me release came in a standard jewel case).