RGV Sounds: Slayer tribute band starts creating original music, attracts global audience

RGV Sounds

The Rio Grande Valley is full of musical talent that deserves exposure. If you know someone who should be featured, email KVEO-DigitalDesk@nexstar.tv.

RIO GRANDE VALLEY, Texas (KVEO) — Sometimes it’s not what you know, it’s who you know that gets you to the places you want to be.

Making the right connections is an essential part of many fields in the entertainment industry, perhaps no more so than for aspiring musicians hoping to attract a large fan base.

Mission-based Overt Enemy has used many avenues to get themselves recognized as one of the most renowned metal bands to come out of the Rio Grande Valley.

The band started in 2013 for a one-off show in the RGV dedicated to Jeff Hanneman, a guitarist of thrash metal band Slayer who died in May 2013. Overt Enemy takes their name from a song of the same name off of Slayer’s 1998 album Diabolus in Musica.

Following the tribute concert, promoters across the valley called on Overt Enemy to play shows.

The group quickly gained a following from concertgoers in the RGV music scene who turned up to see them play Slayer songs such as “Raining Blood” and “South of Heaven,” among others.

Overt Enemy’s Leo Ortiz [guitar, vocals]
(source: Facebook)

After a few lineup changes, Overt Enemy’s lineup stabilized with Robert Hahn on guitar, Jaime Ayala on drums, and the husband-wife duo of Leo Ortiz on vocals and guitar, and Laura Ortiz on bass.

Together, the foursome gained notoriety as one of the best Slayer tribute bands in America.

Although the band was dedicated to performing Slayer songs as proficient as possible, they later decided to start recording original music similar to Slayer’s iconic thrash sound.

Overt Enemy’s first release came in 2018 with Inception, a five-track EP that proves this band has the makings of a terrific thrash outfit.

Grueling guitar licks, bombastic drum beats, and vocals that would make Slayer’s Tom Araya think it was in fact him singing on this RGV-based release are enough for any fan of thrash metal to be satisfied.

Overt Enemy would continue playing Slayer tribute shows while peppering in some of their original songs before finding time to release another EP in 2019, Possession.

Much like its predecessor, Possession features a sound that would make any Slayer fans ready to bang their head.

The EP’s five songs are a blazing journey of metal that leaves no moment wasted.

Overt Enemy’s music is a collective effort from band members each adding input lyrically and musically to make the finished product. The band’s lyric topics deal with current events, social issues, and politics.

In and around these releases, Overt Enemy asserted themselves as a force to be reckoned with in the local music scene.

Overt Enemy began attracting worldwide fame through social media and their music began getting radio play locally and abroad.

Nationally syndicated radio stations began playing Overt Enemy tracks and metal music publications were leaving reviews of the band’s releases. Things seemed to be going well for Overt Enemy.

Part of this success was built off of Overt Enemy’s constant marketing and public relations work.

Hahn puts in countless hours into ensuring the band gets the exposure they deserve. Whether it’s networking with local radio DJs, studying music marketing with professionals in the industry, or devoting time to expand Overt Enemy’s social media following, this band goes all-in to make a name for themselves.

Overt Enemy’s Laura Ortiz [bass]
(source: Facebook)

And so far, it is paying off.

Overt Enemy has gained a global following, with some of their largest audiences coming from Brazil, Chile, and Russia, among others.

The band members attribute this to their accurate portrayal of Slayer’s music along with the classic thrash sound they display on their original songs. They also credit the great work done in marketing the band as a reason for them getting so far.

Specifically, work done by Matt Bacon from Dropout Media, who the band hired to write a business plan and social media marketing strategy for Overt Enemy has produced immense results.

With two EPs completed, Overt Enemy was planning on releasing more music in 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

Once the pandemic entered the picture, live shows fell off the table for the Slayer-tribute side of Overt Enemy. However, the lack of concerts pushed the band to write and record more.

Overt Enemy’s Robert Hahn [guitar]
(source: Facebook)

They were able to write some music in the process and are still working on finalizing what will come out on their next release.

With a good following behind them, Overt Enemy hopes to take their band as far as it can go. While playing world tours might not be on their radar due to family commitments, they are committed to expanding their fanbase, selling multitudes of merchandise, and putting down music they can be proud of.

This RGV-grown band stresses to younger up-and-coming bands that to succeed off your music, an enormous amount of effort is needed in both the music and business side of things.

Overt Enemy can be found on Apple Music, Bandcamp, Spotify, and YouTube, among others.

You can follow them on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

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