|You only get a short warning: A lone guitar buzz, emitting ominously in the distance before utter violence hits home. HDK unleash a sudden storm of strings in untamed fury. Pure aggression, pumping adrenalin and unrelenting anger pour out of the head of Sander Gommans. So far better known as guitarist and mastermind of renowned Dutch Gothic Metal heroes After Forever, Sander conceived HDK as his very personal brainchild. Originally he dubbed his project Hate Death Kill, which was meant as an over-the-top designation for a humorous venture to be taken tongue in cheek. It did not take long for that "joke" to turn dark and sinister. Only a pinch of bitter sarcasm remains on "System Overload" now.
All sense of amusement was gone out of Sander Gommans' mind, while he was composing the songs for HDK. According to his own words, the guitarist was driven by an overdose of anger, disgust and hate, which fuelled his brain and reflected directly on the music. "In hindsight, the songs of System Overload are a prophecy of my downfall that was soon to come", recalls the guitarist. "This album has been written before my breakdown, but although I did not realise it at the time, the growing fury had already taken root deep within me." It takes an extreme state of mind to create such an extreme album as System Overload. It was just luck that Sander managed to finish his songs for HDK before he suffered from that burn-out, which forced him to relent and take some time to recover before returning to work with After Forever.
There are no better musical expressions of raging anger than Death and classic as well as modern Thrash Metal. Sander amalgamates those aggressive styles into a super heavy alloy, which constantly drives forward and attacks mercilessly. Without losing any of the edge, the master of catchy hooklines then proceeds to add his stunning sense of striking melodies to the sound of HDK. It might come as no surprise that a leading figure of the Gothic Metal or Female Fronted genre, would use female singing. Sander's collaboration with Amanda Somerville (Aina, Avantasia) goes far beyond just having another woman's voice. Amanda did not only contribute her rich and powerful vocals, but also wrote highly intense lyrics to put Sander's deep feelings into fitting and profound words.
Amanda Somerville has not been the only prominent guest to enrich and widen the scope of System Overload. In addition to Sander's guitars and vocals as well as Amanda's part, his main collaborators in HDK are bass player Peter Vink (Ayreon, Star One, Q65) and drummer Arien van Weesenbeek (God Dethroned, Epica). To achieve greater variety and very special contributions to the sound of HDK, Sander infected a host of prominent musicians with his enthusiasm and drew them to his cause. Therefore System Overdrive features an impressive list of famous guests like aming others Andre Matos' (ex-Angra, ex-Shaman) clean vocals and harsh screams by Mike Scheijen (37 Stabwoundz). The album also boasts instrumental solos from Arjen Lucassen (Ayreon) on guitar and Joost Van den Broek (After Forever) on keyboards. With its raging intensity and wide range of vocals as well as styles System Overload never fails to surprise: the amazing diversity of its songs will blow your mind!