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Ovrfwrd - Blurring the Lines ... A Democracy Manifest CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

4.17 | 185 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

4 stars These boys know how to embellish two-, three- and four-chord blues rock chord progressions with enough jam-band-like instrumental flourishes, to bely the simplicity of the compositions. The musicians are all proficient at their instruments, the sound choices and effects all very accurate duplications of those from classic prog, psychedelia, and jazz fusion, and the weaves all full and feeling complete, but there is again this stark simplicity to each composition that I find difficult to ignore. It is especially obvious through and with the predominance of straight time signatures. I feel as if I'm listening to DAAL, QUANTUM FANTAY, SAMSARA BLUES EXPERIMENT, and early KING CRIMSON.

1. "Wretch" (7:13) is one of the strongest songs on the album, sounding like QUANTUM FANTAY at their best. (9/10)

2. "Return to Splendor" (5:55) has a driving, jamming SAMSARA BLUES EXPERIMENT start and feel to it until the soft DAAL-like piano-based section in the fourth minute. Quite pretty?the bass lines and electric guitar arpeggi are especially engaging. At 4:40 chunky DAAL guitar power chords (two chords) shift the music back to the insistence of the opening. (8.75/10)

3. "Kilauea" (1:31) opens as a solo acoustic guitar piece before the guitar is trebled in tracks 40 seconds in. (4/5)

4. "The Trapper's Daughter" (4:13) opens with IQ-like raunchy synth which is soon joined by John Bonham "When the Levee Breaks"-sounding drumming before organ and rest of band fills the soundscape. Adrian Belew-like guitar screams and screeches enter around 1:55 but then become buried in the rest of the sonic barrage. But then a soft, cinematic reprieve starts and gradually morphs into a three-chord acoustic guitar duet to the end. Interesting. (8.5/10)

5. ""Forbidden Valley Opiate" (4:46) opens with solid drum play and Dick-Dale-like guitar riffing before filling out to be a song that could come straight from QUANTUM FANTAY's 2010 album "Bridges of Kukuriku." Another mid-song acoustic slowdown occurs in the third minute, but then proceeds to alternate with the driving two-chord progression that the song first established in the first minute. In the fourth minute the two sections kind of meld as the wah-ed lead guitar jumps into the fore and stays there till song's end. (8.75/10)

6. "Cosmic Pillow" (8:06) opens with a solo sitar before a few sparsely spaced single piano notes join in around 0:40. The duet continues as both instruments gradually embellish and augment their separate patterns with little flourishes, chords, and runs. At 2:18 the piano enters into a more domineering pattern and is joined by tabla. Talented dudes! But the strangest thing then occurs: at the four minute mark when electric bass and electric guitar enter, the whole song changes, instrumental foundation, mood, sound, everything. Gone are sitar, tabla, and any echoes of Indian sounds, exchanged for heavy four-chord bluesy prog rock. In the sixth minute, the musical structure tries on a kind of KING CRIMSON sound with angular guitar chords and arpeggi and wild saxophone runs. Impressive imitation but, again, it is based in such simplicity! (8.5/10)

7. "Another Afterthought" (3:54) is the first of the album's songs in which the band enters into the realm of 70s instrumental Jazz Rock?here using an instrumental sound palette quite similar to bands like NARADA MICHAEL WALDEN, LARRY CARLTON, and even Belgium's MINIMAL COMPACT. The song is interesting?even pretty in many places. (9/10)

8. "Handful of Infinity" (3:09) trying on the folk-tinged PAT METHENY GROUP style, we have a two-chord verse structure as the foundation over which electric guitar, Patrick Moraz-like synth, and piano get some solo time. The segue into more delicate territory at 2:00 is interesting, and then we finish with the same acoustic guitar-based jazz-rock opening. (8.75/10)

9. "Taiga" (4:01) opens like it's going to explode into a DEAD CAN DANCE song, but then, instead, becomes more of an ambient VANGELIS "Antarctica" thing before single chord piano and simple bass line bounce repetitively while synth twinkles and poppies its percussive sounds. A chamber strings addition in the third minute proceeds a rich, cinematic section over which bass nd electric guitar interplay. Good song. (8.75/10)

10. "Mother Tongue" (7:15) opens with a band and a runaway pace with many bridges of tempo shifts and pregnant pauses strung together while drums and organ crash away. Electric guitar becomes more integrated into the weave than anticipated, but then morphs into an interesting due to the arrival of acoustic guitar in lead position, but then heaviness crashes back in to take the dominating style. But no! A slower, more spacious psychedelia foundation is created allowing the blues Hendrix-like lead guitar to float and flail, dance and fly all over the fast-panning soundscape. This song is all over the place! Does it work? Drumming, bass play, and piano are very cool in their support of the Hendrix imitator. Definitely a bluesy jam band-like song. The four-chord repetition to the end is an unusual way to draw the song to a close. (9/10)

11. "Wretch Reprise" (1:32) faded in, faded out. Must have been a solo section from an alternate or longer version of the album's opener. I am SO familiar with this style of creating songs! (3.5/5)

12. "Usul" (4:48) is the most obviously KING CRIMSON-esque song on the album, "Red" era, but, other than the wonderful drumming on display, ultimately fails to maintain its beguilement. (8.5/10)

Again, these band members, one and all, are masters of taking very simple constructs and using the collective embellishments from their familiar instruments to weave together some very nice and deceptively layered song tapestries. There are more frequent jam-band type of song developments than complex Crimsonian constructs?though, again, each of the individual musicians are quite proficient at their instruments. Their gift, so far, lies in masterfully mounting a collective attack slowly but surely, building as one to eventually create the full sounds and impressive concotions that they have.

Four stars; a wonderful addition to any prog lover's music collection; an impressive collection of a variety of styles familiar to any prog lover from the progressive rock musics of the 1970s.

BrufordFreak | 4/5 |


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