Overload (Overload)

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General information

Artist: Overload
Title: Overload / 超载
Release Date: 1996, August
Label: Taiwan Rock Label Magic Stone Record
Type: CDDA
Catalog No.: ---
Language: Chinese
ISRC: CNA509631800
Credits: ---


  1. Cornered In The Moor (荒原困兽)
  2. Lonesome (寂寞)
  3. Human Earth (低下头是人间)
  4. Haunted By Dreams (梦缠绕的时候)
  5. Sensation (感受)
  6. Poem Of Life (生命之诗)
  7. Distance (距离)
  8. Flames Of Love (让每一个夜晚充满爱的火焰)
  9. 1999 (一九九九)
  10. Memory From Nine Demarcations (九片棱角的回忆)


(c) Jack Tang (4 out of 5 stars)

Ever since Tang Dynasty's only album, there hasn't been any truly great Chinese hard- rock/metal albums, until the legendary band Overload finally released its first album in the summer of '96. Overload as I know has existed for a long time, maybe even longer than Tang Dynasty. The soul of Overload is lead singer and songwriter Gao Qi. At times, he was the only fixed member of the band. He was also the main song writer for the band Breath in their only album.

Comparing Overload's music to other hard rock bands such as The Face and Again, their music tends to be more metal ( which to me, means more "rock" ). Judging from their two ealier songs "Shadow of the Ancestors" in "Rock in Beijing I", and "Broken" in "Chine Fire II", they used to have more western metal influences and play faster songs, while in this album, I think Gao Qi started to pay more attention to melody rather than guitar riffs, and the band definitely starts to have their unique sound.

Great melodies accompanied by powerful metal guitar riffs with nicely written clean guitar interludes are the charateristic sound of Overload. Their songs are dynamic and full of changes, not like some formulated verse-chorus-verse. All instrument part sounds great. The skills of every band member are very solid. The metal essential - guitar solos are handled by Li Yianlian and Han Hebin beautifully. The rythm back bone - bass and drum are also very well done. On top of all that, Gao Qi's vocal style goes really well with Overload's music. His voice can be deep, gentle and sad at times but when the metal riffs kicks in, it becomes an energentic and explosive powerhouse. I think he's one of the best hard rock/metal singers in China.

Good lyrics has always been one of Gao Qi's songwriting strengths. Since his lyrics are full of imageries of the great nature, ( the sun, the moor, the wind, the sky of a dark night ) it often give me a sense of greatness and a sense of being in a large opening space.

"Cornered in the Moor" is the powerful opening tune with lyrics decribing a lonely beast's existence on a Moor. It's not hard to see what Gao Qi really sings about is the feeling of alienation and loneliness in a cold and cruel world around us. "1999" is the song which sounds most like their older style, which is more close to western speed metal. It's a little hard to get into initially, but neverthless I came to love this song at the end.

This album also marks the first appearance of a "hidden track" in a Chinese rock CD. Song No.11 is not credited or metioned anywhere in the CD booklet. It's a nice little short instrumental piece with classical and Spanish guitar influences. It shows that the group is not just a metal band, but it has quite a bit of diverse musical talents and interests. Judging from the sound of the instruments, I guess it was probably recorded from a jam session after "Memory of Nine Demarcations" was recored.

As an interesting side note, this album has been rated as one of the "Ten Worst" albums of 1996 by a critic in China, because "none of the songs sounds good." Well, if Zhang Xiuyou, Li Ming, and Guo Fucheng sound really good to you, how would I expect Overload to sound good to you? I think if these people have to rate "Ten Worst Albums of All Time in the World", the top three must be Metallica's "Metallica", Nirvana's "Nevermind", and Pearl Jam's "Ten". The true sad thing regarding music in China is the general apathy for any real music talents, poeple just don't care about genuine music. As long as it's packaged nicely from Hong Kong or Taiwan, they would buy it, look at the singer's pictures in the tape or CD booklets, listen to one or two songs they heard on the radio, and try to sing it in Karaoke.

What's great:

Excellent metal/hard rock album. Great vocals. Great lyrics. Very solid performance in all instruments. Good grasp of melody while not sounding overly "pop".

What's no-so-great:

Maybe a little (just a tiny little bit) more diversity in songs would be great.


Further information

External pages

  • Douban page
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This record is regarded as the first Thrash Metal Record of China.

Appearances in Press/Books

  • Mentioned as a "Yaogun classics" in the Insider's Guide to Beijing 2008.

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