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Overhead - Zumanthum CD (album) cover

ZUMANTHUM

Overhead

 

Crossover Prog

3.70 | 52 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Shakespeare
3 stars Overhead is not a generally well-known band. Finnish, with English lyrics, and extremely young, they manage to capture the essence of classic bands (Pink Floyd being the most obvious), but mix it up with a New Wave feel. They throw in some unexpected shifts, rigidly turning from a Dream Theater metal section to a liquid, milky, spacey segment, and exploding from there into a guitar solo with steady rhythm. All these contrasting dynamics, and all the different styles of music that this album encompasses, all make Zumanthum what it is. From the slow beginning, to the absolutely abrupt end, the album is plain fun. [This album is available for free download on the band's website, and I think that everyone should go and acquire it.] My rating of this album lands safely between 3 and a 4 stars, and being a strict and hard-to-please reviewer, I have decide to demote it. However, I think instead of a "Good, but not essential" album, this is an "Great, but not essential" or "Excellent, but certainly not essential" album, and should be looked into by prog lovers.

Vocals are very like Neal Morse's throaty delivery (though his pious topics are not covered). Lyrically, I don't find anything that jumps out. Neither are they bad per se, just simply uninteresting. Besides the obvious Marillion, The Who, Genesis, Dream Theater and Pink Floyd influences, Overhead dress this album in their own flesh. That is to say, regardless of the clear influences, this album, and their overall sound, is entirely their own, and by no means do they make any music worthy of the term "rip-off". (Though there is definitely some Police/Sting style guitar in Confessions of The Grim Reaper that comes close.) The sound of the instruments is very unique, with some not-too-often-heard keyboard voices, very electronic-sounding bass, guitar that lands somewhere between metal and neo-prog, and a strangely symphonic drum and cymbal sound.

I find this album to be very rhythmically led. Even from the beginning of the first song, the melody is derived from the drumming. Flute, neither Tullian nor in the spirit of the Gabe, isn't overly used. However, when it does show up, it is a very nice addition. Guitar, happily, does not overpower any other instrument, which is something that happens all too often in modern music. Sound quality is average - not painfully clear, and certainly not dull or smudgy. As for mood, things shift as quickly and as frequent as the music. The cosmic and near-ambient sections set things a bit darker than most of the upbeat playing that occupies most of the album. However, at some times sections of an altogether intriguing, malevolent landscape appear. The greatest moment of this can be seen/heard on Wasteland, where the liquid keyboards and swelling guitar create a killer atmosphere.

As the end comes near, energy builds. After Wasteland masterfully set the mood for the final track, Zumanthum begins. Slowly does it commence, with a mildly serene guitar introduction. Very symphonic is this section, with piano being a foremost component of the sound. The powerful vocals take over, before the entire scene flips and vocals exit and enter inconsistently. Piano over the rolling toms and the single chords exploding from guitar create a really energetic, and a really beautifully aggressive sound. But, of course, the tension breaks and some extremely moving piano takes center stage, playing to make a tyrant cry. I can't stand when bands simply try to be beautiful, and I find it makes them sound insincere. However, Overhead do this perfectly, and never sound dry, uninspired, or synthetic. After this memorable moment, tension builds, beating the same melody endlessly. First is piano, then guitar enters, followed by bass and drums. After flute joins, the energy can only rise, growing, pulsing, throbbing, shooting upwards endlessly, until it

Shakespeare | 3/5 |

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