New Vegas - Overseer
Record Label: None
Release Date: May 2, 2012
Most of the time, when bands call themselves post-hardcore, they don't think about post-rock. However, I consider post-rock to be an extremely important part of the genre. I mean, it only makes sense. Why even use the term for most of the "post-hardcore" bands out there? Most of them are just metalcore with more clean vocals. With New Vegas's debut offering Overseer, the ambient elements of post-rock and the hard-hitting aspects of hardcore are blended together brilliantly, and the product is really quite impressive.
I find that riffs and chord progressions from most post-hardcore songs tend to be very powerful, and New Vegas delivers in this department. With that solid foundation, it gives them room to truly create something mindblowing, and they do not hesitate. On top of the strong rhythm are ambient and hauntingly beautiful post-rock elements. Dual clean guitar sections with a clear but spacey tone, droning synth effects, and powerful, distorted leads all work together to create an atmospheric zone that instills a powerful mood. All of these present themselves perfectly in the remarkable instrumental "Recovery," "Lady Injustice" and the intro to "The Water is Poison," one of the best tracks on the album. After the intro, the song leans more towards post-hardcore and displays an addicting chorus with a strong recurring riff. Basically, all the songs find the perfect balance between hardcore and post-rock.
It's quite impressive that each song has a strong enough instrumental to be able to stand on its own, but it's even better that they have the perfect vocals layered over them. The clean vocals generally stay in the same higher range, but there is evident talent there and they usually complement the music well. The album opener"Reliance" leads off with a simple, dissonant riff then builds while showing off some high vocals typical of a post-hardcore song, but they still work well enough to make the song one of the best on the album. The title track probably shows the most creativity, offering a different, catchy chorus leading into much more variety as the vocals begin to soar and pair together with the screams. The screams are both high and low, but the lows tend to feel more out of place. The highs add more to the power and are just delivered with such raw passion that the emotion in the lyrics just flows through.
I don't know if I'd say that post-hardcore has just been redefined, but Overseer has definitely changed my outlook on it. I don't think I'll ever be too satisfied with another post-hardcore album if it doesn't have the kind of passionate and atmospheric delivery that this album has. I think I can also safely say that, based on my definition, and although it may not be my favorite post-hardcore album, I think it may be one of the best.