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Ovrfwrd - StarStuff CD (album) cover

STARSTUFF

Ovrfwrd

 

Heavy Prog

4.05 | 36 ratings

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FragileKings
Prog Reviewer
4 stars A few years ago, I had the great pleasure of reviewing OVRFWRD's "Fantasy Absent Reason" album. Of a handful of albums I had been asked to review, that one stood out as the most memorable. More recently I reviewed "Blurring the Lines", which is an album I felt showed OVRFWRD reaching their pinnacle. Now this new release has been out for several months and I finally put my reviewer ears on and gave it an attentive listen. Would the band be able to at least do as well as on their incredible previous album?

From the first two tracks, I determine there is a decided seventies feel. It's the rumbling organ in the opening track and the flute in the second track that are the main reasons for impression. OVRFWRD aren't necessarily a retro-prog band and until now have sounded like a modern heavy prog band with the talent of a seventies classic band. But on this album so far, I feel there is a strong presence of the sounds of the seventies.

That changes for track 3, the title track. Now we are in more familiar OVRFWRD territory with powerful, slowly-building music that builds in tension and suspense. My minds eye filled with images of a grad tour of a nebula or the view of a probe landing on an exoplanet. "Starstuff" indeed! This band knows how to create an sonic impression.

One of the things that impressed me on their previous albums and I feel very strongly here once again is the band's tight cohesion. Whether it's a keyboard solo or a guitar solo, or simply the power of instrumental rock, all members are fully onboard contributing to the music in the best way. The rhythm section keeps things anchored while the lead instruments take turns adding flair to the solid rhythm guitars and keyboards. The members gel together perfectly to create music that you can sink right into.

"Daybreak" is a short piano solo composition that seems to hint at Pink Floyd and Chicago, c.1970 without sounding exactly like either. And then we get "Zathras", which is OVRFWRD's specialty instrumental style: beautiful yet developing an unsettling atmosphere that at first is eerie and then evolves with building tension.

I was made to think of Dixie Dreggs during "From Parts Unknown". It's a super track with beautiful piano that goes straight to one's soul. And this is where we reach the problem with the album: It's already over! At only 39 minutes, "Starstuff" is a thrilling joyride that ends way too soon! There are only two options: play the album again or go back and listen an older album like "Blurring the Lines" or "Fantasy Absent Reason".

I'd give this album four and a half stars if could. A heavy prog instrumental band, OVRFWRD is a band many prog fans should be checking out!

FragileKings | 4/5 |

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