Overloaded - Hail The Kingdom - No Deal Records 2005
7 Songs
Running Time: 24:36

Lead throat Chris Gillen has a great set of lungs in the oldschool power-metal style, adding more than a touch of sleaze for flavour, and distancing himself from the lion's share of Detroit metal vocalists currently worshipping at the shrine of metalcore. I do get the impression, however, that Gillen seemed hesitant to push his voice into a higher register for the studio experience. Live, I'm sure he's got the chops, but on album, his David Wayne (more Metal Church, less Reverend) rasp wears thin over time. The guitar-birthed wolf whistle at 1:52 in the badly-titled 'Beaver Fever' smacks of Eddie Van Halen, which only works if David Lee Roth is at stage front, strutting and making like a latter-day Jim Dandy. It just seems unnecessary here. Still, the rest of the album finds the dual attack of Erik Kluiber and John Sullens using both guitars to compliment each other well in a style more reminiscent of Downing/ Tipton than Murray/Smith/Gers, in an execution more based on raw energy than in technical fluidity. With a name like Overloaded, if your band doesn't have the energy to drive the moniker, you might as well pack up and go home. Thankfully, this Redford, MI quintet are, if nothing else, driven. While songs such as 'Feeling Overloaded' and 'Where Are You Running To?' burn with passion, the band could stand a bit more focus on song arrangement in order to ensure repeated listens. Myself, I'll crank up 'King Of The Landfill' and 'Cyclone', push about 2 tons of Detroit steel down I 94, and be damned thankful there are still bands like this in the Motor City.

Addendum: Being as Hail The Kingdom was released in April, Eric thought it appropriate to include four songs the band had recently completed. Thank the gods of Metal that he did, too. 'Hellfire' is pure hard rock, Chris exhibiting far greater vocal control (and skill) than on Hail... , sounding just enough like Warrior's Perry McCarty fronting Skid Row (circa Slave To The Grind) to make me take notice. 'Shotgun City' dives back into the gutter of late 80s sleaze, albeit played with more polish than you'd expect. Both the ballad, 'Zygote' and closer 'Heavy Metal Highway' rock in much the same fashion, stoking the coals of my interest in this band to flame. While this is not a new band, someone has spiked Overloaded's punch with something extremely potent. Next round's on me.


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