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Overhead - Zumanthum CD (album) cover

ZUMANTHUM

Overhead

 

Crossover Prog

3.69 | 48 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Pekka
3 stars 2.75 stars

Beginning to End: A drum intro with heavy bass joining in with a fine guitar melody on top. The rhythm section then picks up the tempo and Jaakko Kettunen introduces the song's main melody, a very tasty piece of work. After a long intro they settle down to invite in Alex Keskitalo's voice, which unfortunately is a bit bland. The song has a strong atmosphere but at six minutes you begin to expect a change of pace which you eventually get after a nice keyboard solo. Unfortunately the mood shift is the first weak spot of the album: a really clumsy transition to a very dreamtheaterish heavy snare/metal guitar break which then launches into a section exposing the young bands other weakness: the lack of power in Alex Keskitalo's voice.

The first ten minutes of the first song tell the whole story of this album: tight rhythm section, skillful guitar, atmospheric keyboards, good or even great melodies here and there, but too many unnatural transitions and a singing voice lacking power and self-assurance.

Asleep pt. 2 - Awake: A decent song with nice melodies and some bright flute moments, but the voice is still a problem along with the clumsy transition around three and a half minutes. The song contains some tasty guitar soloing towards the end though.

Congessions of the Grim Reaper: A great riff starts the song, which as a whole is musically the most enjoyable of the bunch along with the title track, although vocally probably the weakest, mainly during the choruses. Again a guitar solo bordering on wonderful and a pretty smooth tempo shift towards the end to a faster jam, but again the powerless vocals do their harm.

Wasteland: An atmospheric synth instrumental with a soaring guitar and a surprisingly well fitting programmed drumbeat. It kind of reminds me of some Nobuo Uematsu work for the Final Fantasy game series. And that's a compliment.

Zumanthum: A picked guitar with piano and some of the best singing on the record open the title track. Going through a very good pair of verses and choruses the song calms down to an instrumental section beginning a little like their next album masterpiece Dawn and seamlessly leading to a vocalized mid-section with some beautiful flute flourishes. Again a relatively smooth transition to a heavier part and again into the final section of the song starting with a lone piano and ending with a beautiful two-minute instrumental section eventually running into a wall. Not the most satisfying way possible to end this album.

The band shows that they have a sense for strong melodies but the songs lack the cohesiveness they would bring to their epics later on. With a new drummer the rhythm section would get some welcome fluidness and Alex continues to develop his confidence in his voice to this day. Promising debut with bright moments, but clearly the weakest of their catalogue. Apparently the band has today a shame plaque at their training facility containing the cd and booklet of Zumanthum and the member arriving late to practise sessions gets to stare at it. It's not that bad an album at all but still easily their weakest.

Pekka | 3/5 |

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