After two “unofficial” demos, a single, and an EP, “The Difference Between Excuse & Reason” is Allentown metal band Ovlo’s first full-length album. In fact, this 10-song album has only been out about four months and the band is already going back into the studio in a few weeks to begin working on their second full album.That just makes me feel even more shame about not having reviewed/raved about the Excuse & Reason album publicly yet.
This is without a doubt a blisteringly intense and talented band, but they’re not afraid to show a sense of humor. They are comfortable enough in their own skin to do that. Thanks to singer and lyricist Jamey Holben, song titles like “Four Dead, Northampton, PA” (inspired by a true story) and “Tiberius in Siberia” exist alongside “Pretentious Prick” and “Cocaine, Blondes And All The Right Answers.”
As for the music, this is the tightest band in Eastern Pa., period. It’s thrash that opens up to big, melodic choruses that don’t overstay their welcome. Drummer Cody Saylor dares guitarists Joey Nova, A.J. Siegfried and bassist C. Meat to keep up, and they answer the challenge in lockstep.
Yes, this band is loud, but their power comes from their surgical precision. Holben navigates the changes in the music adroitly, switching between intensity and melodicism with skill. He often reminds me of a more grounded Serj Tankian. The “elephant in the room” is the question, can they pull it off live? The answer is, absolutely. Just get that thought out of your head right now.
It also should be said that other bands can learn how to properly market themselves from these guys. Their smarts becomes immediately apparent when you visit www.ovlo.net. On the home page, without having to do a lot of scrolling, you get links to, literally, a dozen social media/band websites that they are on, a poster for an upcoming show, a couple of live videos, a concise paragraph of the latest band news, and their Twitter and blog feeds. It’s all done in a clean style that doesn’t tire the eye.
Ovlo is also an emphatic supporter of the local Lehigh Valley music community. They enthusiasticly organize multi-band shows and had vocalists from a couple of other bands do guest appearances on the new album. Throw in the fact that it’s physically impossible for Nova to not smile in every one of the band’s photos.
“The Difference Between Excuse & Reason” is out now on Medical Records and is available at iTunes, Amazon, and CDBaby. It contains seven new songs and the three songs that were on the “That” EP (2010). Individual tracks are available at BandCamp and ReverbNation. Visit www.ovlo.net for complete details and links.