Overdrive, from Grantham in Lincolnshire, are a band I seemed to have overlooked when listening to some of the old eighties rock and metal bands from my heyday. They first came onto the NWOBHM scene way back in 1981 releasing a 3 track EP “On The Run”, and another 4 albums since 1990. So it was with great enthusiasm I wanted to check out the latest album this band had to offer, “The Final Nightmare“. A first for new label Pure Rock Records (a division of Pure Steel Records).
The album opens with a narrative very much in a similar vein to something out of the old Hammer House of Horrors. It is a bit of cheese to start us off and introduces to first track “Invited To Hell“. Musically speaking this is busy, with lots of hard rocking riffs and melodies provided with some great guitar work, and synthesised pieces from keyboardist Tim Hall. The early sign is that this comes across as a Black Sabbath/Saxon/Magnum/Motorhead/UFO/Deep Purple mishmash of sounds with indeed vocalist David Poulter sounding like a Lemmy/Ozzy crossover but vocally he can sing.
Truth be told, this album brings us back to the late seventies to early 80’s rock and old school metal. The grooves are infectious in second track “Twice Shy” with some neat riffs from guitarist Tracey Abbott. The keyboard is less noticeable here with the guitar shining through.
Fourth track “Twisting My Mind” starts off like psychedelic funk from the late seventies. Early UFO springs to mind! Musically the musicianship is pretty tight, with a nice rhythm section from drummer Ian “Scratch” Padgett and Ian Hamilton on bass, but what is noticeable here is the vocals during the chorus, in which at times I find David Poulter struggles in the upper registers just ever so slightly. There is some great solo guitar work going on here.
“Wasted” has Poulter singing about that old cliché we have all faced sometime in our lives. The getting smashed over a weekend from alcohol and can’t be arsed doing anything come the start of the working week. It’s a theme I’m sure many of us will identify with. The lyrics are simple and straight to the point, but again there is some mighty fine guitar playing here.
“Lost On a Mountain” very much has a much more progressive feel to it. The keyboards really shine here and is a highlight of the album for me. It is quirky, upbeat and has a smooth fast pace and rhythm to it.
“Nightwalker” has a kind of Progressive Sabbath feel to it. A harmonic vocal bridge halfway through leads to some great guitar sounds mixed with melodic piano sounding keys to a finish. Another highlight for me.
The more progressive elements continue towards the end of the album, which to me brings about a stronger second half and some of the more obscure melodic pieces, and a much better album for it. This continues through the meandering somewhat dreamy ballad of “Taken Young (Ben’s Song)“. The keyboard again plays a pivotal role with some really nice touches throughout. This is the main highlight of the album for me. The guitar riff is awesome during this track. The album closes with an epic 8 minute plus progressive eastern vibe in title track “The Final Nightmare”. It is a great track to end proceedings with all instrumental elements working well here.
To summarise, at first I did think Overdrive’s “The Final Nightmare” was at best an average affair but after a few listens it did start growing on me, in particular the progressive sounds in the latter half of the album of which is its strength. The musicianship is tight, and works well as a collective together. The keyboards/hammond added a nice touch and quality to the overall sound. As a whole “David Poulter’s” vocals work well throughout most of the tracks, though sounded a little strained on the higher registers. All in all it is a nicely polished performance from everyone involved, with a nice sounding production. It’s also good to see some cracking old school art work for the album cover. Great work fellas!
1. Invited To Hell
2. Twice Shy
3. Glass Game
4. Twisting My Mind
6. Lost On a Mountain
8. Taken Young (Ben’s Song)
9. The Final Nightmare
“The Final Nightmare” is available now through Pure Rock Records, a division of Pure Steel Records
Ian Hamilton – Bass/Vocals
Tracey Abbott – Guitars
David Poulter – Vocals
Ian “Scratch” Padgett – Drums
Tim Hall – Keyboards/Vocals
Please visit Overdrive at: