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Overhead - 2008 - "And We’re Not Here After All"

(49:31, Musea Records)


Prolusion. OVERHEAD is a Finnish band that first surfaced back in 2000, contributing a track to a sampler CD issued that year. Two years later their debut album is released on the Italian label Mellow Records and for the follow up production Overhead switched to the French label Musea Records, which issued "'Metaepitome" in 2005. Three more years went by before their third creation, "And We're Not Here After All", was released, their second on the Musea label.

1.  A Method 4:13
2.  To the Madness 7:43
3.  Time Can Stay 8:08
4.  The Sun 1:09
5.  Lost Inside 11:46
6.  Entropy 6:41
7.  A Captain on the Shore 9:47


Alex Keskitalo – vocals; flute
Tarmo Simonen – keyboards 
Jaakko Kettunen – guitars 
Janne Pylkkonen – bass 
Ville Sjoblom – drums 
Petra Oksa – vocalizations (7)

Analysis. When writing about a band and a release saying a few words about musical similarities and influences is usually an advantage: a sort of guidance for the reader to orient him- or herself after. This isn't as clear-cut in this case though. The music on this production seems to be influenced by some of the more recent artists active in what has been coined Neo Progressive, but if we're talking about a direct influence or just music with a similar sound sharing the influences from other acts pursuing the same style of sound I'm not too sure about them. That Overhead actively includes flute in their compositions and seems to be more fond of the organ more than modern synthesizers is seemingly in major contradiction to the above analysis, and when stating that the utilization of these vintage instruments in this case makes the songs sound modern rather than vintage in expression might get quite a few readers to scratch their heads a bit. Even so, that is the case for this creation and as for an example artists they have many similarities with, Sylvan is probably the closest I get. The vocals of Alex Keskitalo are a key factor in this comparison though, as his clear and pleasant yet strong and emotional voice is rather similar in expression to Marco Gluhman's. And when it's used in songs with a distinct emphasis on strong melodies containing mellow verse parts and majestic and even pompous leanings for the chorus parts this underlines the similarities with the highly popular German act. However, the piano gets a more central role in Overhead's creation, serving themes to be explored as well as more dampened explorations adding details to the atmosphere explored. The organ gets to provide quite a few atmospheric details too, placed back in the mix to cater for details and nuances rather than setting off flurrying solo parts. The guitar work on this production, although well performed and executed, brings us back to more familiar territories, with acoustic and undistorted guitars dominating the mellow parts of any given song and drawn out riffs and chords an often utilized effect to add punch to chorus segments as well as instrumental escapades. The soloing is of the melodic and atmospheric variety and the odd segments with distorted riff patterns make appearances from time to time too. The sum of these different parts is an album with a contemporary sound, exploring a modern variety of symphonic progressive rock, focusing on strong melodies first and foremost. And a rather good release it is, the opening pair of songs most impressive but quite a few of the following compositions are also more than capable creations in themselves.

Conclusion. A strong release by the Finnish band Overhead with intriguing melodies and compelling atmospheres. Highly recommended to fans of bands like Sylvan and well suited to further explorations by followers of modern symphonic rock with some commercial leanings.

OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: March 2, 2009

Overhead - 2008 - "And We’re Not Here After All"


Analysis. Since its formation in 1999 Finland’s OVERHEAD has been stably releasing one new album every three years, each of the successive ones having turned out to be a less inspired and interesting creation than its predecessor. And while “Metaepitome” from 2005 is only slightly inferior to the band’s debut outing “Zumanthum”, this, their third, album, “And We’re Not Here After All”, finds them stepping down that slippery road of borrowing others’ ideas where only the wannabe ‘vehicles’ ride and which is a creative deadlock in the end. With the exception of a couple of space-fusion jams in the style of Hawkwind’s “Levitation” that are part of the second piece To the Madness, and also the (occasional) appearance of the flute, this 7-track recording sounds much like a tribute to Pink Floyd overall, most of the time the band barefacedly exploiting the English legend’s creative legacy. Basically bi-, at most thri-thematic, the songs are either both slow-paced and contemplative throughout, such as the opening tune, A Method, and its track list counterpart, A Captain on the Shore, or can take the shape of post-Pink Floyd quasi Space Metal which we get in places on both Time Can Stay and Lost Inside as well as on the aforesaid To the Madness, though the musicians just increase the powerfulness of their sound in such a way, without bringing any major alterations to the composition as such. The concluding piece is especially boring and monotonous. There are only a couple of variations on the same musical storyline (think “The Dark Side of the Moon” at its most meditative) which lasts for almost 10 minutes! All in all, only on Entropy does the corresponding influence appear to be heavily modified, so the piece represents a fairly original take on, well, what comes across as the collective image of Pink Floyd’s work, this being the sole track in the set whose instrumental arrangements are always both intense and driving.

Conclusion. Following for the most part the line of least resistance in terms of both composition and arrangement, with their third outing Overhead have practically joined the ranks of those countless faceless outfits that are only able to use ‘70s prog rock icons as milk cows. It is only the last described piece, as well as the presence of a couple of flute-laden acoustic segments on both To the Madness and Lost Inside, that allow me to rate this recording higher than as a complete mediocrity.

VM=Vitaly Menshikov: March 2, 2009

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