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Overhead - Metaepitome CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

3.91 | 119 ratings

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5 stars For a long time Rush's Hemispheres was the only album of a previously unknown band I'd ever bought solely on the strength of recommendations from a trusted fellow proghead. Rush has since over the years become one of my biggest favorites, and that album is one of their five star masterpieces. Then a few months ago Hemispheres got company when, encouraged by some praising on a Finnish prog forum and a good financial situation, I grabbed Metaepitome by Overhead from my regular record store without hearing a single note. I put it on the next morning while having a quiet work day, and just listened and concentrated.

And what a great hour I spent. This album is one of the very few prog albums that have instantly struck gold on the very first time listening to it, and while some such albums tend to lose their appeal at least a bit over time, I still get the same feeling of excitement every time I listen to this one. From the first acoustic notes to the gentle verses and the shockingly stunning passage beginning at about 5:30 (I've just got to mention this specially, it's one of the best things I've ever heard) to the crushingly heavy parts and the lone piano the title track is an exciting adventure through various musical landscapes. And despite its versatility and impressive length it never falls apart. I admit there are some very Purple and Pink moments at times, but I can't be bothered by them, as they don't jump out to my face, but fit well in their places. The rest of the album is dedicated to more compact pieces of music. Warning: Ending is an upbeat number with a long soaring intro, really groovy verses and an aggressive chorus which after some instrumental adventures eventually blends seamlessly into Point of View, which starts off as a ballady kind of thing before the spotlight is stolen by Jaakko Kettunen's fantastically well structured guitar solo taking up most of the song's duration. A Butterfly's Cry is the most upbeat song on the album, actually it wouldn't be very inappropriate to call it cheerful. If I had to choose, I'd say this is slightly the weakest track on the album, but still a great great song with some playful keyboard melodies and funky guitar. Arrival of the Red Bumblebee is a melancholic keyboard instrumental leading into Dawn, which might well be one of the best closing tracks on any album. Built on a simple bass pattern we get echoing keyboards, guitar painting long lines on the horizon and a very strong emotional vocal performance by Alex Keskitalo, especially in the long beautiful finale. A relatively simple song, but carries itself proudly all those 16 minutes into the final silence.

The voice of Alex Keskitalo has improved with leaps and bounds since their debut. His vocals are the biggest problem I have with Zumanthum, but now he sounds like having gained a lot more confidence in his voice and he sings with great emotion from the start to finish. The instrumentation throughout the album is very strong, colourful and tight. Even funky at times. The tight rhythm section creates a solid foundation for keyboards and guitar to build on. Especially Jaakko Kettunen does some fantastic things with his guitar and the few flute parts are all very effective.

Every song on the album defends its place succesfully being clearly different from each other, thus having their own memorable character. It's a very diverse album ranging from cheerful to melancholic and gentle to really heavy, all the while creating a cohesive wholeness. The album hasn't yet stood the ultimate test of time, years and years of repeated listens, but I have a strong feeling that it will. Last saturday I had the privilege to witness a show where they played the title track and Dawn and as a surprise ending a stunningly thunderous rendition of 21st Century Schizoid Man, which wasn't the least bit less powerful than the original. That was one of the best gigs I've ever seen, as this is one of the best prog albums I've heard.

Pekka | 5/5 |


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