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(40:50, Metal Mind Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Bad Karma 1:05 2. Born to Destroy 4:28 3. Funeral Stopper 3:32 4. Beware the Boozehound 4:52 5. Call of the South 3:23 6. Standing Tall 3:16 7. Shadow of the Beast 6:49 8. The Revelation 4:06 9. Like Heroes to the Slaughter 3:49 10. Hope for the Best Prepare for the Worst 5:30 LINEUP: Michal Stemplowski – guitar Lukasz Jurewicz – drums Lukasz Pomietło – bass Wojtek Kaluza – vocals
Prolusion. The Polish band J. D. OVERDRIVE was formed in 2007, at the onset calling themselves Jack Daniels Overdrive, but later revising the band name due to potential copyright issues. Following an initial EP in 2008 they made their debut with "Sex, Whiskey & Southern Blood" in 2011. "Fortune Favors the Brave" is their second full length album, and was released through the Polish label Metal Mind Productions in the summer of 2013.
Analysis. I'll kick off right away and state that this isn't an album that will interest dedicated prog aficionados, as this is a band that explores a style well outside of the progressive rock universe. Metal is the name of the game here, and without any progressive or indeed any features that might be described as groundbreaking. While this isn't basic or primal music either, this is dark and dirty stuff, of the kind that reeks old sweat, booze and crude oil – with a swagger. The basic ingredients throughout are pounding drums, thundering bass guitar, dark, dirty riffs and lead vocals. Dark and aggressive music, of the kind that you occasionally get the feeling that the band wants to pound you into submission. This quartet does cover a fair bit of ground within this context too actually, and perhaps a bit too much ground for the dedicated sub-niche fans. Initially, following a stellar atmospheric introduction, this foursome takes us on quite a ride. Some thrash details applied to a stoner metal foundation that reaches out towards old heroes Black Sabbath just as much as bands like Soundgarden, but with grimier and dirtier riffs throughout. On one occasion a touch of Deep Purple is applied to this blend as well, which does work fairly well actually. Later on galloping riff escapades with more of a power metal expression and more intense riff barrages closer to thrash metal are given a more prominent role in the compositions, which isn't always as compelling, at least not to my ears. It's more a case of the music becoming to compact and too intense in some cases I think, and the lead vocals are a factor in that department. Vocalist Kaluza has a well functional mode as a singer, but he does combine this aspect of his repertoire with aggressive shouting quite often, which does give the songs a more brutal and aggressive general character. When listening intently this detail, alongside with the otherwise aggressive and massive instrument details, does get a tad too overpowering at times. More purebred aggression instead of swagger, if you like, and at least to my ears, this is a band that makes much more of an impact when they tone the aggression down a notch and swagger through stoner rock and stoner metal landscapes. A nice album all in all though, and the first 20 minutes of it in particular.
Conclusion. While progressive rock fans can safely stay away from J. D. Overdrive’s latest album, those with a taste for metal might want to give this disc a check. "Fortune Favors the Brave" is a high intensity production that combines elements from stoner rock and stoner metal, flavors the proceedings ever so slightly with doom and power metal and adds some thrash metal for marinade for the heck of it. Dark, dirty, grimy and aggressive, a musical cocktail that smells like sweat, oil and the bottle of whiskey someone opened last week or thereabouts, and merits a check by those who finds that description a tantalizing one.
OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: January 20, 2014
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