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Easy Livin
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars A sudden Finnish!

I have to confess to knowing nothing about this band until I stumbled across them on this website. Released in 2002, Zumanthum appears to be this Finnish band's only album to date, but it does indicate that Overhead have significant potential.

The opening 20 minute track "Beginning to end" is a superb piece of traditional prog rock. Loads of time changes, excellent guitar, and keyboards which range from basic soloing to the creation of lush orchestral textures. The vocals are the only weak point really, they just don't sound right for the music. They sound almost pop like, with hints of the Bee Gees, well sung, but not quite right.

There are five tracks in total, the remaining four include the laid back instrumental "Wasteland", and the harder 14 minute title track. The latter has a great final section called "In the wind", which has rather a strange ending. It just stops in mid flow, similar to the way "I want you" by the Beatles does on Abbey Road, effective but rather unsatisfactory.

There are more than passing similarities with the music of Yes at times, I was especially reminded of the "Big Generator" album. There are also "Flower Kings" influences, but the band must be credited with a great deal of originality, and indeed potential.

At the time of writing the entire album, along with several other tracks, is available for free download via the band's website, a link to which is on the band's page on this website.

Report this review (#22555)
Posted Monday, May 24, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars I downloaded this album half a year ago from their website, and was very impressed by the sheer musicality of these guys, unfortunatly I wasn't able to buy the album yet, I'm still waiting for the original (problems with delivery). And I desperitly want it, for it's definetly a worthwile adition to any prog collection.

Overhead is a Finnish collective, and this is their stunning debut. They seem to be influenced by bands as Pink Floyd, Yes, Marillion (both Hogarth and Fish era), Alternative rock, and hard rock (hence they are labelled Art rock). Great melodic music, with warm atmospheric keyboards and bass, powerfull guitar solo's reminescent of some Steve Rothery/David Gilmour lines.

Beginning To End. (20:20) is a five part suite, beginning with a great guitar solo, great textures and symphonic pieces, awsome hypnothising music. Just listen to it and let it amaze you. 2. Asleep pt. 2 - Awake (8:51) Great melodic rock song with nice piano melodies 3. Confessions of The Grim Reaper (8:24) Beautifull song, warm dark melodies swirling through, nice flute, greatly sung and a great guitarsolo at the end. beatifull.

4. Wasteland (5:00) Instrumental, dark ambient melodies, not really great. 5. Zumanthum (13:45) The title track of the album, and the most heavy song on it. Starting instrumental, very rhythmic, great keyboards, awsome.

Zumanthum is a wonderfull album, made by an amazing band, and I like it a lot. The new album "Metaepitome" is due out in march, and I'm really looking forward for that release. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, check out the website, and listen to the available downloads, great band.

Report this review (#22556)
Posted Saturday, February 26, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Overhead, propably the only domestic prog band that I like (I'am from Finland). The music is exellent like old Genesis with bit of Dream Theater. Still it could never be considired as prog metal. I quess it could be called symphonic prog with some neoprog features.

This is propably one of the most strongest and bravest debut album. It has 5 songs and one of them is a true epic and three other miniepic. The music is very original, well composed and well played. I though prog bands these days are terrible metal. Overhead makes a nice exeption! Go to see their site and listen to the samples, but not just one.

Report this review (#74157)
Posted Wednesday, April 5, 2006 | Review Permalink
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

Report this review (#133375)
Posted Thursday, August 16, 2007 | Review Permalink
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.

Report this review (#204068)
Posted Monday, February 23, 2009 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars A relatively new band,OVERHEAD were found in Helsinki by four students,before expanding to a quintet and record a self-produced album,called ''The snowman album''.Unfortunately this effort didn't receive much attention,so the band worked on new material,which meant to be their next effort ''Zumanthum'' in 2002.OVERHEAD teach the way of how a modern prog band can sound like,without ''forgetting'' their style's roots.''Zumanthum'' is a great conmpilation of inspired soundscapes and influences.First band that comes to mind are 70's KING CRIMSON,due to some complicated guitar passages and a few extreme bass lines.Then it's the heavy use of piano for creating nice interplays in a complex way,reminding a bit of E.L.P.,and afterwards come some rather heavy guitar parts in the vein of DREAM THEATER.Synths are used often to create spacey atmospheres,not unlike PINK FLOYD,while the vocals are quite harsh,resembling more to alternative rock bands that progressive ones.The whole result is absolutely satisfying,a great release with nice instrumental parts,intense moods and changing tempos.OVERHEAD are a band built for progressive rock's present and future.
Report this review (#214085)
Posted Wednesday, May 6, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is another very confidential Nordic band who released quite a good effort at the turn of the century.

The first couple of minutes of their epic opener are absolutely gorgeous, but as Bob also mentions, the weak part are the vocals. But it is not the first time than some Scandinavian bands fail to provide great vocalists.

Still, this ''Beginning To End'' is a solid prog epic, with some truly rocking passages which provides a lot of dynamics. This song will satisfy almost any old freak as I am: great guitar, brilliant keys and a strong rhythmic section. With a definite appeal to melody. What else do we need?

This song is highly instrumental (thanks a bunch for this) and conveys a great feel throughout its length (over 20 minutes). It is of course THE highlight of this album, the other songs having problems to fight with such a great opponent. A huge number indeed.

It would be unfair though to limit this album to the only epic. The almost instrumental (again) ''Asleep'' gets its full credits as well. Even if the sound is weirder and heavier, it has its own merit. There are some complex interplay and the whole is not easily accessible; but once you got it, you got it.

Most of the songs from this album are on the long side and ''Confession'' sounds very much as a neo-prog song to say the least. The barrier between cross-over and neo being very adaptable for ''Overhead''. Even vocals are quite alright here! Not talking about the backing band of course. Just sumptuous.

The shortest track is also the most Floydean of the whole. Spacey keyboards, melodic guitar and a great feel indeed. A fine hors d'oeuvre to introduce the long and closing number: ''Zumanthum''.

The problem being that this song is the weakest of this album; very much neo-prog oriented (which is not the problem). Vocals are again disgraceful and the inspiration is quite absent. Only the "finale" is worth.

This album is a very good debut one. Four stars (upgraded from seven out of ten due to the closing number).

Report this review (#220826)
Posted Friday, June 12, 2009 | Review Permalink

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