Review: OVERDOSE – …Conscience… (1987)

Review: OVERDOSE – …Conscience… (1987)

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OVERDOSE …Conscience…
Heavy Discos

A little bit ago, I touched on Overdose’s best effort, known as You’re Really Big! But before that beast hit the scenes, they had a record out known as …Conscience…. While it’s not nearly as impressive as the next album, it has all the pieces on the table ready to be assembled, with some slight alterations as well. For those unfamiliar, Overdose are a Brazilian metal band that started out in the power/thrash realm, and this one definitely leans a little more towards the thrash side than the follow up album would do. Because of this, it comes off slightly more aggressive, but still lacks the threatening power and carries a friendlier vibe on its back.

The name of the game is keeping it clean in the vocal department, no matter how harsh the guitars may get. On the contrary though, the production is anything but clean, forcing the solo work to bleed through a little sharper than what was likely intended. This also fuzzes out the drum work, causing it to lose some of the fury that the man behind the kit could potentially have. Nonetheless, the ability to shred like a madman and drop heavy rhythms all over the place is here without a doubt. Vocal tone and range is there as well, and playing skill is evident everywhere. …Conscience… was heavily influenced by the early speed metal acts, as the riffing is almost all drawn from speed picking, carrying a dark tone. This approach allows the band to project a darker image to the mind of the listener, similar to the playing style of Satan (the NWOBHM band that was around in the early ‘80s). Again, with all pieces being there, this is how the band mixes darker styles such as that, with a friendlier tone that doesn’t exceed accessible boundaries. Influences of Manowar can be heard in that sense.

So, what’s the key ingredient that this debut lacks, making the follow up so much more superior? Structure. Picture this like buying a Lego set without the instructions manual. Everything that’s needed is there and there’s clearly an end product in sight, but the Brazilian boys hadn’t figured out how to put it together yet. A lot of the songs carry few to no hooks, and don’t hold anything memorable. There’s not much consistency or real direction, which also makes it fall flat. Admittedly, “Ultima Estrela” is intriguing, as it has a much more energetic feel to it, with better playing patterns. It also isn’t in English, which is always a fun way to shake things up. Finally, the shoddy production that I mentioned earlier makes it a bit messy, and the longer length doesn’t help either. Really, this can all just be summed up as a little too young and a little too dumb.

Thankfully, the record following would solve every one of these issues, bring a large sense of clarity to the music, and contain far stronger songs with great hooks and many emotions. The debut was a needed effort, because it acted as a backbone for what was to come. Certainly, still worth a listen. Fans of Manowar and Satan alike would get some sort of enjoyment out of this raw invasion, but I honestly recommend early (they later change their entire formula) Overdose to anyone who likes Judas Priest, Metal Church, Helloween, and acts of the likes.

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