Let The Metal Do The Talking (Lion Music)
"Is it too early for the top album of the year?" I mumbled as I slapped the silver into the... computer. I knew it would rule, and it does, but alas, it's not likely album of the year. Overdrive are the godly domain of Janne Stark going back to the mid-'80s. Janne has since distinguished himself with Locomotive Breath, one of the great unsung band's of the last decade. Here, well, it's four of the original guys, but a new vocalist, which is always the worst guy to have to replace in a reunion. The result is still a damn good ruff 'n' ready 'n' rootsy power metal album with nods to Overdrive and their axis of Axewitch and Torch and Heavy Load and the debut album from Europe. But the production is too clean, the songs a bit too fast and intricate, the whole thing, a little synthetic and spiffy. Composition-wise, it's the band's first album since '84 and actually, half the songs were written in '85 - makes no difference because the whole concept pours toward classic Swedish metal, succeeding for the most part, Stark being a kingly riff-maker with a stadium rock chin up, chest out.