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Due to one reason or another I have fallen behind on my reviewing from where I like to be, and when this started playing in the car the other day I initially had to take a step back and work out who it was, and where it had come from. I had forgotten that keyboard player Chris Malmgren had sent it to me, as this just doesn’t sound like a self-release and why they haven’t been picked up by a major label is just beyond me. When it comes to instrumental progressive rock, there are few who put it together as strongly as Ovrfwd, who continue to drive a fusion of heavy rock and progressive rock in a way only they can. Drummer Rikki Davenport is obviously an octopus, while bassist Kyle Lund decided a long time ago that there is no reason why he can’t play a lead part as well as providing support. Then you have keyboard player Chris Malmgreen who may be just playing delicate, emotional piano (listen to the beginning of “Cosmic Pillow” as an example), or blasting banks of keyboards and then there is Mark Ilaug who can be deft and precise, or shredding and dynamic, whatever is right at that moment in time. The guys don’t have a singer, as there is just no room at all inside their music for someone to provide vocals. But, instead of meandering meaningless wanderings these guys provide concise and controlled songs without words, music that transports the listener (such as the use of sitar on the aforementioned song). Powerful and heavy when it needs to me, there is also a great deal of delicacy, and clever arrangements which allow for plenty of space within the layers so that all can be easily heard and understood. This is truly progressive, with no room for navel gazing as the guys provide complex and complicated music which is fully accessible the first time it is played and just keeps getting better on repeat. Superb.
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