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Ovrfwrd - Fantasy Absent Reason CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

3.77 | 24 ratings

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4 stars Ovrfwrd's Chris Malmgren contacted me asking for a review and I obliged due to the fact that I had remembered Mellotron Storm's comments in his recent review and of course, if John says it's good, well, it's good! I had a sense that the music was going to be somewhat reminiscent of fellow American band Carpe Nota , whom I enjoyed immensely, both being all-instrumental affairs with a great amount of sonic depth. I am glad to report that this is a real sizzler, as any album that starts off with some harpsichord (my favorite classical instrument) is always going to seduce this reviewer.

The highly melodic album kicks off with a whopping colossus title track, a brooding, intense, contrast-laden monolith of delicious sounds. Malmgren spreads electric piano, acoustic piano, organ and synths liberally, displaying elegant technique and ornate style, while expert guitarist Mark Ilaug enjoys the Frippian weaving patterns that highlight the master's latter career but adds rash riffing as well as seriously bent guitar forays that wink at masters such as Allan Holdsworth. Bass guitar is held rather nastily by Kyle Lund, who seems to enjoy rampaging around the low end and being quite bothersome. But as already mentioned by my colleague, drummer Rikki Davenport really steals the show, being both technically spot on as well as liberal with his thumping flashes of genius. The roller coaster ride goes from serene to cyclonic, definitely on the edge of impending chaos and yet controlled and measured, always dependent on atmospheric variations and sheer brilliance, killing it with a pulsating ending that has jazz, blues and rock overtones that are outright dazzling. Ridiculously tasty!

'Brother Jack McDuff' is a different kettle of fish, the Malmgren organ really churning profusely, almost like a modern version of Booker T and the MGs, with buzzing guitar accompaniment and a choppy rhythmic alliance. Ilaug then rips off a bluesy rant at breakneck speed that will dazzle the jaded listener into outright obedience. Davenport bashes monstrously again.

Things settle down with the tranquil 'Dust Nova', a brief respite from the storm, almost like 'Borboletta' era Santana, Davenport doing some exceptional work on the drum kit, simplicity and technique winning the ears over, as the mood languishes in some dreamy oasis of sound, slowly building up in intensity. Jazz turning slowly into rock, heavy prog to be precise. Soon the howling guitar winds sweep into the horizon, bringing dense clouds of power into the once sweet expanse. Slashing and relentless, the pounding becomes monumental and grandiose, another fine display from these accomplished players. The final moments revert back to a more jazz approach, cymbals and the piano aglow again, in unison.

Flute? Really? Wow! Well, these Minnesotans can claim a certain flair when it comes to being creative, as 'Utopia Planitia' keeps on giving the goods, flirting with creative tempos and colouring constantly with new ideas, the rhythm solid and the soloists thoroughly on the ball, as Ilaug gets nasty on the lower registers of his electric axe, very rock and roll, recalling gents like Trower and Page. Malmgren then adds his two cents worth, one hand on the piano and the other on a synthesizer that likes to go haywire. Tense and then intense, the brooding magic seduces to no end. Or at least until the delirium settles in!

The final track is another scorcher that starts off in a bluesier environment, Ilaug picking nicely before things get more excitable, shifting drums and electric piano (such a brilliant instrument!) in tow. Things settle into a more linear mode but still usurped by the insistent axe buzz until a new plane is reached. 'Creature Comforts' ends this release on a very comfortable and confident note.

This is available only as a download or vinyl with a cover that will blow your eyes. Rest assured the music inside will blow your ears and mind. Yes, these are very talented guys who need to be better known and appreciated, as they provide an exhilarating experience that will stand the test of time.

4.5 Unreal Vague Motives

tszirmay | 4/5 |


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