Hello, The Overseer. Your genius is shining. The reason I say this is because the new addition to Solid State Records’ firm metal lineup has just released an album that may put it on a future scope with bands like August Burns Red, Demon Hunter, and Underoath. We Search, We Dig is one of those albums that’s so impressive in its meshing of technicality, brutality, and passion for what they do that the only way I can describe it is “genius.”
Looking at the tracklist and seeing that each song title was one word, I got a bit skeptical. I worried that maybe the tracks would run together not just because of the one-word titles, but because maybe the instrumentation and memorability of each track would also suffer. After the transition between the first two tracks, “Secrets” and “Dredge,” all of those fears evaporated into thin air. The former is a brash, powerful opener, featuring intense vocals that range from deep, ventilated screams to rowdy gang vocals to pure, untouched cleans. However, the latter kicks off with soft, radiant melodies and the comfortable singing voice of Darren King, speeding up into an efficacious chorus featuring ultra-speedy riffage.
The differentiation found between these two tracks is not only surprising, it’s mesmerizing. The entire album thrives with uniqueness and diversity song after song, not flaunting its vulnerability and willingness to try different approaches to metal, but doing so in the most subtle of ways. As impressed as I am by the bursting melodies that supercharge tracks like the menacing, Thrice-esque “Amend” and the winding “Mendacious,” I am knocked off my feet by a mix of lyrical reflection and ammunition that is extremely attractive. There’s definitely some substance to be found, and I’m not just saying that. We Search, We Dig is completely real and raw; it stands strong on its own without needing enhancement from anything but the minds and souls of the musicians behind the genius.
However, while the band is finding a strong sound on its debut, the influence found in it is dazzling. If you were to put every band on Solid State Records into a blender, these guys would come out. The gut-wrenching guitars of Underoath are there. The deep, unrestrained screams of The Chariot are there. The metalcore-y feel of Oh, Sleeper and Norma Jean is there. In no way does this interrupt the album’s freshness. It still retains originality, even with the elements from alternative, punk, metal, and hardcore that run through its blood. We Search, We Dig is that odd record that you feel like you’ve heard before, but you know deep down after searching forever that you haven’t.
The biggest complaint I have about the album is its short length. Still, some of my favorite albums of all time have clocked in at under 35 minutes. I don’t know if I’d consider The Overseer’s debut to be on that list, but it’s one heck of a debut. It’s one of the most solid metal albums I’ve heard all year, and this is coming from a band that is just beginning to find its niche. There is definitely some room for improvement, and this will be a great album for the band to reflect upon and tighten things up. I can see the future of Christian metal painted with The Overseer as one of its big guns. And We Search, We Dig definitely makes a good impression for who and where these guys may be five years from now.