The black metal underground is seemingly always teaming with unsigned bands that it's sometimes hard to differentiate the wannabe's from the true players in this overcrowded genre. The USBM scene is certainly no exception in this regard, yet save for a few high profile exceptions (Nachtmystium, Xasthur & Wolves In The Throne Room immediately come to mind) a lot of American bands tend to ignore the importance of atmospherics within the music, which is a vital characteristic and something that is embraced by the majority of their European counterparts. Fortunately Overthrone a promising outfit from Illinois, consisting of brothers Toby (drums, vocals, synth) & Nathan Nickels (guitars, bass) haven't ignored this fact on their debut full length release Declarations Of Secession which features eight compositions that maximize the duo's effective combination of full fledged aggression with plenty of complex and swirling symphonic arrangements.
Most of the songs on Declarations Of Secession flow seamlessly into each other giving the record a real feeling of cohesiveness from beginning to end. There are plenty of highlights on this disc and they begin immediately on opening track "The Vitriolic Fever", a nine plus minute epic that features a plethora of heavy, technical guitar work, multiple tempo changes, and an effective combination of no less than three different vocal styles as Toby utilizes a snarling & scathing attack coupled with low, guttural death metal grunts that ultimately yield to operatic like chanting towards the end. Dual tradeoff vocals also create some very interesting dynamics throughout much of the title track, navigating through the vicious current of thundering blast beats, complex riffing and eerie keyboard textures. Another stand out is the chameleon like nature of "God's and Beasts" where the arrangements never seem to remain static long enough for the listener to become too complacent or even anticipate where the music will led next. Perhaps the true highlight of Declarations Of Secession though is the final track "Intravenous", a twelve and half minute composition that allows for Nathan to fire off some impressive and truly melodic solos overtop his brother's ever shifting and intricate rhythm's.
Declarations Of Secession is impressive from beginning to end, whether it's the performances themselves right down to the clean, crisp production qualities of the music, it all comes together perfectly. However, as good as this album is, my feeling is their masterpiece is probably right around the corner but this is definitely a step in the right direction.
1) The Vitriolic Fervor
3) Closer To Zero
4) Declarations Of Secession
6) Gods and Beasts
7) The Tribunal