Overstand - Razors Edge/Kali Yuga (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Razors Edge/Kali Yuga (2009)


New Jersey hardcore act Overstand got my attention when it was mentioned they had ex-members of Charge in their stable. That band had a very cool, soulful reggae-hardcore style that lifted its mode pretty directly from Bad Brains, but did it well--and it's not like many hardcore acts were doing such a thing anyhow. Overstand have a BB influence too, for sure, but their take on hardcore gets off the reggae tip (for the most part), grounds it with a steady groove and spans a couple different inspirations. It's too bad they're already calling it quits, too, if they haven't already. This CD compilation, Razors Edge/Kali Yuga offers up some new songs recorded this past winter (the former) and tacks on the tracks from an earlier 7" (the latter).

Their lead vocalist reminds me a bit of Capital's Tommy Corrigan, but that might just be the shared Bad Brains and Burn influences poking through. This seems most evident in "Drop Out," which finds frontman Shawn Zappo giving off a fierce but restrained bark over up-tempo chords. Wah-wah pedals infect "Razors Edge" without making it too cheesy, while the latter half of the track, "Strong Like Lions," gives out a shout to jah love over a dub beat (and quotes Hindu scripture in the liner note). But I wouldn't take the band's spiritual and religious underpinnings too seriously--at least, I can't, given the raspberry by the Krishna-esque figure on the cover.

"Dry Streets," meanwhile, is basically a straight funk jam and proves one final moment of sure ambition at Overstand's later stages before the heavier, rougher nature of Kali Yuga. There's still some chances taken on spacey, fuzzy guitar pedals, but "Brainwash Mind Games" comparatively crushes and "Like Suicide" is a hardcore punky, chugging trade-off of ragged, desperate shouts. "Separation Anxiety" does come off a little more dynamic and adventurous in the context of this particular half.

The more ambitious Razors Edge is definitely a preferable Side A, but Kali Yuga provides a blunt edge to wrap it up. Bummer there won't be much to follow, but mourners should check out their new act featuring guys from Floorpunch.

War/Live Love (Bob Marley cover and then some)
Drop Out
Razors Edge/Strong Like Lions
Dry Streets
Brainwash Mind Games
Our Strength
Push on Thru