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From, the ultimate progressive rock music website Overlook album cover
3.94 | 115 ratings | 12 reviews | 30% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2008

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Stone Salad (15:17)
2. Other Side of the Water (14:09)
3. Crashmind (10:51)
4. 13th August (11:53)
5. Return to W.I.T. (17:00)

Total Time 69:10

Line-up / Musicians

- Vitaly Popeloff / guitars
- Albert Khalmurzayev / keyboards
- Andrew Mara-Novik / bass
- Vladimir Badirov / drums

Releases information

Artwork: Ken Westphal

CD 10T Records ‎- 10T10031 (2008, US)

Thanks to ccvp for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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FROM.UZ Overlook ratings distribution

(115 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(30%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(47%)
Good, but non-essential (20%)
Collectors/fans only (1%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

FROM.UZ Overlook reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by LiquidEternity
5 stars Fromuz already caught my attention with their debut album Audio Diplomacy. Well, if by caught my attention, I mean blew me away, then I suppose that's a fair statement. Basically, the band proved to me completely that they are one to listen to and check out whenever they put any new thing out there. It just so happens that Overlook is the first new thing they've put out since Audio Diplomacy--as in, this is their first studio album proper.

And this release in truth is not disappointing at all.

The music is still instrumental, and these four fellows are a rare band that completely deserves a license to make entirely instrumental albums. For Overlook, they trade in the jam session feel for a more involved, complex system of changes and overhauls. Featuring only five songs yet granting us 70 minutes of music, this album on paper runs a terrible risk of being horribly hard to swallow. And while it is not an easy album to simply understand from the get-go, it nevertheless features enough clever hooks and superb melodies to keep listeners interested. Of very important note is the incredibly good sound of this album. The mixing and mastering and whatever is so very dynamic and deep in a way that does not seem to happen often in modern recordings. The keyboard sounds are full, the drum sounds deep, the bass actually PRESENT, and the guitar filling the slots it needs to without overpowering everything else.

One of the strengths of Fromuz as a band is their ability to cross over. Not just between different genres, exactly, but more importantly between integral frames of mind. A lot of bands make a shift from, say, progressive rock to metal by simply adding in distortion and making the softer bits heavier. Truth is, though, that metal and rock start from different points of view. Rock is more focused on the melody, while metal seems based off riffs. There have been plenty of discussions about this, and I'm not here to argue that point, but just to point out that Fromuz can shift instantly (and rather cleverly) between a rock frame of mind and a metal one. Sometimes their music is very riff-based, while other times it's about the overriding melody. Others, still, can be dominated by a space-rock sort of ambiance. Suffice to say, the band has some nice flexibility. On to the individual tracks, then:

Stone Salad opens the album with a piano motif that will appear later a few times. I must admit, this seems to be the weakest song on here. Some of the transitions are a bit sketchy, and there is a four minute bit about eight and a half minutes into the song where the band noodles around for a little while. This bothers some of the fans, but the more I listen to it, the more I appreciate what it does for the remainder of the song. All in all a good track, but not a great one, and one that might lower the rating to four stars were the rest of the tunes so well compiled.

The rest of the tunes continue with Other Side of the Water, what seems to me to be the most overall mellow and gentle song on the album. While it features heavy moments, there is a strong Camel vibe to a fair portion of it, with a neat little ending piano bit that reprises the main theme in a very Opeth sort of style. This track is a pretty good one, but not quite as strong as the final three, I feel.

Crashmind is still my favorite track off Overlook, and it's not much of a surprise to me, really. This one is just brimming with energy and excitement almost the whole way through. This features the underlying metal mentality I mentioned earlier, mostly dancing around a couple heavy riffs. These heavy bits are interrupted (or, rather, segued between) by thick ambient sections. The keyboard sounds on Crashmind are some of the best on the album, I think, and quite possibly some of the most interesting I've run into in the world of prog as it is. To me, the highlight of this tune is the clean guitar solo in the middle, playing over some psychedelic chords, that sounds like a wonderful hybrid of Frank Zappa and David Gilmour, while plagiarizing neither. The piano motif that opens the album reappears to close this track, with a bit of twisting and toying in there.

13th August opens very much like a King Crimson track, though that feel vanishes in an appropriate timing. I have to applaud this song, because to me, it feels like it brings the largest number of elements together the best. Switching from mood to mood while not sacrificing flow or interest is an impressive feat. One of the most interesting bits of this tune is the short keyboard patch bit a few minutes in, featuring a human voice bop boping or something. It's a classic Fromuz moment that shows a lot about the band: a sense of humor, a sense of adventure, and wonderfully creative drive. Also of note, this song happens to have some bits of true guitar shredding in it, though they are not oppressively so, while the rhythm section seems to draw a lot from, interestingly enough, Symphony X, to my ears. Much (I believe--music theory is not my strong suit) of this song is in 13/8 time (see the connection with the title?), yet it plays not like a band that is trying to write a complicated song in an unusual time to be more proggy. It sounds natural, and for a band to play something unnatural and make it sound natural is a huge point of interest to me.

The final track (yes, this review is long, but that happens), Return to W.I.T., brings back the theme from an Audio Diplomacy track, Wax Inhabitants Town. While that song is only an average one to me, the theme sounds absolutely golden here, helped a lot by the much higher quality of production and mixing/mastering. Eventually, the tune segues into likely the heaviest and wildest section in any Fromuz song. This bit sounds like what Liquid Tension Experiment always wanted to write but couldn't seem to figure out. The ending works itself out slowly, with the opening theme rehashed in a multi-voice chant, and then a full wall of keyboards reprising the opening piano melody, leaving the album feeling full and completed.

I know that was long, and if anyone actually reads it, I guess that makes this a worthwhile thing to write. I haven't been a fan of the band very long, but at this point I would not be remotely surprised if Overlook ends up being my favorite album of 2008. Yes, it's that strong, and yes, the wild creativity and fun of Fromuz is not something to be ignored, especially in light of the excess that a lot of other instrumental and fusion bands seem to be choked by. Check this one out. Very highly recommended.

Review by Windhawk
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Fromuz is a band from Uzbekistan (surprise, surprise) that have been active since 2004. The members are accomplished and established musicians in their local scene, but not that well known outside of their native country yet. This slowly started to change when they were signed by US label 10t Records a few years back, and their first official release Audio Diplomacy from 2007 got a fair share of positive reviews. Overlook is the follow up to this album, released in September 2008 by 10t Records.

In terms of style, Fromuz is probably closest to symphonic rock on this CD. A highly complex variation of it though, that has to be said. Still, multi-layered compositions with at times a plethora of melody lines and a distinct tendency towards atmospheric segments as the foundations of the sonic creations leads to that conclusion. This isn't symphonic in the manner of Yes or Genesis though - for starters it's an instrumental release; and this stuff is somewhat more complex and quirky at times too.

Synths and keyboards are all over the 5 epic compositions on this release, most times in multiple layers underscoring as well as floating above the main melody line; and quite often these instruments are an integral part of this one too. Providing floating atmospheric layers, dark ominous sounds, electronic rhythmic noises and sampled voices; it's a key instrument from start to finish on all tracks. The same can be said of the other instruments though; the guitar providing careful acoustic licks, atmospheric soloing, grim staccato riff pattern and majestic drawn out chords; the drums providing the basic rhythm, setting pace and adding quirky structures for the other instruments to play upon; and the bass guitar strengthening the impact of the drums, but also utilized to set up a basic melody underscoring the main one as well as given the space to roam free at times.

All the instruments are integral to the tunes, and it's only on rare occasions that one single instrument will be given a dominating role while the others set up the foundation for it.

What sets Fromuz apart from most other acts is the structure of their compositions. All the above elements can be found with other acts, but there's some additional diversifying elements to the sonic creations of this fine outfit from Uzbekistan. First and foremost, all their songs are constantly evolving. Quite often they will have one ore more central themes or motifs which they return to from time to time, but wandering explorations is a key element in these songs, and a dominating feature throughout. The tunes rarely stay within a segment, mood or atmosphere for long - they are forever changing and evolving, with many instances of abrupt breaks and major changes in pace, style and sound.

Further enriching features are extensive use of disharmonies and dissonant elements; effects used often in all songs here. They are carefully utilized though; the multilayered complex creations makes this release a taxing experience in itself; and adding long parts dominated by dissonant and disharmonic effects would probably have been too taxing for many listeners. So the band have chosen careful insertions of these elements, seeing to it that the compositions never overly use these artistic spices.

Add influences from jazz and metal to what is described above, and a tendency to create majestic segments with a large and rich sonic tapestry contrasted with grim staccato parts and lush atmospheric moments; and you end up with an adventurous album rich in details; and a somewhat taxing listen. This is a release that probably will make most of an impact for listeners already familiar with and enjoying complex music; especially if they like a symphonic foundation to boundary-expanding music. A strong release overall; with many fascinating moments.

Review by Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Quite eccentric & nice cover, isn't it ? Maybe it tells something about band's music itself, or at least certain parts of it. Because Stone Salad is first more rock, than jazz, while towards the end of track, it grows into first jamming outro, then ascending (or descending) into dissonant, before finally reuniting with more melodic rock. Their style is quite unique, which is probably because of country of their origin. Same as with previously reviewed "The Gourishankar", these post-soviet bands have something magical inside them. Maybe it's because these features (hidden ones, more clear to see ones, influences, styles of composing etc) are unique. As from country on border between Eastern and Western Europe (we're in fact Central Europe, but nobody is paying attention), there's still quite big disregard for soviet (I mean propaganda free) / post-soviet one, which I think is unfair. On the contrary, these territories are uncharted land, hungry for explorers.

4(+), full of "new" things.

Review by Raff
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars In spite of those who still think progressive rock begins and ends in the English-speaking countries, Uzbekistan-based quartet Fromuz are undoubtedly one of the most exciting new acts on the modern prog scene, producing music that, though rooted in jazz-rock/fusion, effortlessly spans other subgenres. Like its predecessor, 2007's "Audio Diplomacy", "Overlook" is an entirely instrumental effort, something that can fall squarely flat on its face if not sustained by adequate musicianship - which is definitely not the case here.

Listening to "Overlook" is not for the faint-hearted. Sudden, unexpected shifts in mood and style lurk at every corner, each of the five tracks wildly veering from spacey to crushingly heavy, from almost romantic to broodingly atmospheric. Therefore, giving an accurate description of what happens on those tracks (all over 10 minutes, the longest clocking in at nearly 17) is nearly an impossible task. At almost 70 minutes, the album is indeed very long, even for today's standards - a factor that, in my view, seldom turns out to be to a disc's advantage. However, the amount of music featured on "Overlook" is so cleverly, skilfully balanced that, though undeniably demanding, never overstays its welcome. Though mainly guitar-based, the album is not guitar-dominated, the instruments working together to build layers upon layers of rich, intense textures. Those who like some melody with their prog will not be disappointed, and neither will those who are into the harder-edged side of things.

Opener "Stone Salad", a real delight for guitar fans, and a sort of statement of intent, is introduced by some deceptively delicate piano which leads the way for a whirlwind of metal-like riffs. Then follows a snippet of Spanish-style acoustic guitar, a strongly Pink Floyd-influenced middle section, and a lengthy, very jazzy drum-and-guitar jam, with martial chanting faintly echoing in the background. "Other Side of the Water" comes instead across as a more laid-back, richly atmospheric offering. Introduced by eerie, surf-like electronic sounds, it shows some more Pink Floyd influences in the second half of the track, where a filtered, disembodied voice and pulsating keyboards sharply recall the central section of "Dogs". The harder-edged side of Fromuz's sound shows up in the sudden riffs and high-powered drumming that slash through the airier, spacier sections of the track. The appropriately-titled "Crashmind" - ten exhilarating minutes of steel-sharp riffage, scintillating guitar solos, spacey synths, and jagged drum patterns - borders on progressive metal, and as such would not be misplaced on an album by Liquid Tension Experiment or Planet X. "13th August" has its share of heavier moments (veering at times towards speed/thrash-metal stylings), though it also features a sparse sax solo in typical jazz-rock/fusion tradition, and a trumpet blending with keyboards towards the end, suggesting the wistful solemnity of a Morricone soundtrack.

Though I have seen the word 'symphonic' used to refer to "Overlook"'s musical content, in my opinion the only track that would fully qualify as such is album closer, "Return to W.I.T." Electronic strings and woodwind instruments give the track a lush, orchestral feel, as does the majestic sweep of the keyboards in the first half, sedate and restrained in comparison to the wildness of the following section, where the band shift again into jazz-metal mode. Then, towards the end, the track slows down again, turning into an almost psychedelic feast of synths underpinned by an almost military drum pattern, before it slowly fades away with faint, water-like electronic sounds.

One of the real surprises of 2008, "Overlook" is modern prog at its best: flawlessly executed without being a mere exercise in technical proficiency; firmly grounded in the past, but at the same time forward-looking. Highly recommended to fans of complex, multilayered instrumental music, and to anyone looking for exciting new acts - and yet another album for whose rating an extra half-star would come in very handy.

Review by poslednijat_colobar
4 stars Overlook is experimental jazz/rock fusion album by uzbekistani band Fromuz. With this band Uzbekistan is already on world progressive map. The album contains innovative ideas full with energy and passion with eastern taste. The musicianship is highly impressive, especially drums and keyboards. On the album alternate some heavier tunes with jazzy and calm tunes. The album is highly influenced by King Crimson and progressive metal genre, while jazzy elements are not very much and often are overshadowed by heavier sound. The links between different themes and motifs are constructed very well and precise. Overlook is like a twist that grabs you and throw you away to a different reality, to an exciting trip. Get this trip and enjoy yourself. Fromuz make a request for serious future career. Strong 4 stars!
Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Second Fromuz album is more instrumental symphonic prog and prog metal, than jazz fusion. Very balanced sound, competent musicianship, complex compositions. Five long songs, different enough not to be boring.

I like some Central Asian motives , included in very first song, it gave some personality to their music. So, it's difficult to find weak points in this album. I think , having more personality in their music, they could be a really great band. And the music is a bit on the safe side for being real attraction for metal fans.

I think this album could be interesting for melodic (instrumental) prog metal fans. Competent enough to be noticed, not original enough to be highly recommended.

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Heavy Prog & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars A collection of amazingly diverse songs/song parts. While no song seemlessly rises to perfection--IMHO--every song has several parts of sheer brilliance and bliss. Repeated listens helps take the edge off of some of the rather sudden and abrupt stops, twists, and turns--and familiarity helps to also reveal many of the melodic gems. Many smiles. There are also parts that, IMO, are wasteful and or too obscure for explanation, but I'll give them an A+ for originality! Every song is a 7 or 8 out of ten, the album is worth four and a half stars--an excellent addition if you're willing to give it numerous listens--moves toward a masterpiece with familiarity. One demerit for the occasional cold, emotionlessness other reviewers have mentioned.
Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars FROMUZ are from Uzbekistan of all places. A country that used to be part of Russia once upon a time.The band name means "From Uz (Uzbekistan).This is their first studio album and it's all instrumental. Five songs over 69 minutes gives this four member band lots of time to stretch it out.There is a guest who offers up some narration on one track and violin on another. I am really impressed with this album, they keep it interesting enough with the tempo and mood shifts, and i'm a fan of heavy music and they offer up plenty of that.The packaging with the pictures in the liner notes are all very well done.

"Stone Salad" is laid back to open but that changes quickly as it turns heavy. This is good. Synths to the fore 3 1/2 minutes in. A change follows and the guitar is ripping it up before 5 minutes.They do slow things down but it's still powerful. A change 8 1/2 minutes in as intricate sounds come and go. It kicks back in after 12 1/2 minutes. Nice. "Other Side Of The Water" opens with atmosphere then the guitar cuts in before 3 minutes and soars as the drums pound. It then settles right back to the previous soundscape. A change after 4 1/2 minutes as the tempo picks up with the guitar leading. It settles then turns heavy after 6 minutes.Synths roll in.This is great ! It settles before 10 minutes. Synths join in after 11 1/2 minutes. Nice. It picks back up 13 minutes then turns heavy. Piano only ends it.

"Crashmind" has a good heavy intro and it stays this way until it settles 2 1/2 minutes in with guitar outfront. It's heavy again and we get some loud percussion sounds. Heavy guitar follows. A calm 6 1/2 minutes in with guitar, synths and bass. It's heavy again a minute later. It settles before 9 1/2 minutes. A beautiful section follows. Piano only ends it. "13th August" opens with intricate but angular guitar as the heaviness comes and goes. A change before 2 1/2 minutes as we get some vocal expressions. I like this. It kicks back in around 4 1/2 minutes when the vocals stop. It's heavier 7 minutes in. A calm follows with what sounds like trumpet and a party in the background. Piano too. It kicks back in at 8 1/2 minutes and heavily. Killer section. "Return To W.I.T." opens with guest violin and it becomes Classical sounding.That changes before 2 1/2 minutes when the drums and a powerful sound take over. It does settles back some then kick back in after 5 1/2 minutes. Nice. It picks up a minute later as the gutiar plays over top. Riffs 9 1/2 minutes in and a heavy soundscape. Kicking ass ! It turns spacey 13 1/2 minutes in with vocal melodies.Thunder and rain 15 minutes in as it becomes pastoral to the end.

A solid 4 stars.

Review by octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
4 stars I don't know why Fromuz are considered JR/F. Their unusual debut, in the sense that a live album as debut is not common, was a bit closer to jazz-rock. This could be a reason. This is the studio debut.

It's immediately clear that Overlook is rock. A rock of a kind not easy to define. The guitar is hard enough to think of progressive metal in the vein of Ayreon, but they are more eclectic. Their music is sometimes symphonic, sometimes folky. Surely there's nothing that can make one think that they are FROM UZbekistan.

The album contains five long tracks for a total of about 70 minutes.

"Stone Salad" has many different moments but there are no discontinuities. In this sense it's symphonic. The guitar solos are good and essential. The keyboard background is loudy and the passages are never trivial. The changes in the signature don't come frequently. The only discontinuity is when the (clean) guitar is left alone after 8:30 minutes and for about four minutes, helped only by bass, little drums and background noises in making jazzy chords. A bit of experimentalism that I really like. It depends on tastes, but it's the part of the song that I prefer and the way used to return to the main team is excellent. Just few guitar chords in the right moment and at the right volume and the listener is back to where it started without understanding how, at least at the first listens. An excellent beginning.

"Other Side Of The Water" starts spacey. A low-pitched keyboard's chord with background noises and percussions. The theme reminds me of Senmuth, even when after about 3 minutes the drummer adds rhythm. Just few minutes and I understand why Fromuz are in the fusion section. After a quick moment of silence we are back to rock. I can't find another band to compare them with. There's something in the bass line that makes me think to Ummagumma, but the guitar sometimes sounds like Trevor Rabin's. Give up to uneasy comparisons or attempts of classifying them, this is prog with no doubts. What comes after minute 10 has effectively something floydian (Animals) before the rock coda closed by piano.

"Crashmind" has a stunning intro with metal suggestions. It initially reminds me (but it's just a concidence) to "Come Corpo Morto Cade", a song from Greenwall present on the first CD of the Dante's Inferno compilation. Heavy instrumental prog, with changes and odd signatures. In the middle it calms down and there's a good guitar number. Just an interlude before returning to the heavy side for a while. A jazzy interlude of bass and drums then rock again. The last minute is melodic but powerful. Just a little touch of Porcupine Tree, then a piano coda.

"13th August" . Here they are like nobody else, at least in the intro. The melodic part which follows has a keyboard background with echoes and reverbs and the vocalisms add a lot to the song. A sudden change and the unusual signature brings us "close to the edge". Not that they have anything to do with YES. If I have to compare them to one of the bigs, I think King Crimson are probably more appropriate. The only defect that I find in this track is its discontinuity. It doesn't flow from one part to the following as the opener. Here the changes come suddenly breaking the continuity. The jazz part with the trumpet is great and unfortunately too short, but what follows is good as wellm but with those sudden changes and returns that characterize the whole track. It's apity because all the single parts taken alone are excellent.

"Return to W.I.T." is the longest track. It's opened by a violin (synthetic?) which plays alone, then harpsichord, bass and bells. There's some flavour of early Genesis for the first 5 minutes, then the colours become darker. Almost psychedelic at minute 6 and some seconds. At Minute 11 starts a bolero tempo. Some seconds and the guitar enters. Also this track is made of many different parts, somewhat disconnected, but FROMUZ took more care to the transitions. This is a track made of many ingredients and reminds to the other tracks of the album. The slow coda is very good, too.

Don't expect fusion, the genre is misleading. It's a very good album containing different styles, maybe eclectic. A very pleasant discovery which can find room in ANY prog collection.


Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Just a month after ''Audio Diplomacy'' saw the light, Fromuz were among the bands to perform at the 2007 Baja Prog Festival in Mexico next to monster artists and acts such as Focus, Universe Zero and Jordan Rudess.The rest of the year they focused on writing new material and gig around the countries of former Soviet Union.The new album ''Overlook'' was eventually released on 10T Records in October 2008, recorded in three different studios, having Andrew Mara-Novik as the main producer and guitarist Vitaly Popeloff as the main composer.

With ''Overlook'' Fromuz move stylistically to another level, the one that includes only long, epic compositions with plenty of different movements.The album consists of five tracks with a length around 70 minutes, the shortest piece clocking at 11 minutes.Soundwise Fromuz haven't changed many things.Their music is a heavier edition of Progressive Fusion with orchestral and jazzy textures, quite complex, fascinating and technically efficient, featuring endless tempo changes, dense interplays and bombastic grooves.They borrow the improvisation of Jazz, the power of Heavy Rock and the virtuosity of Progressive Rock to offer an all instrumental amalgam full of changing climates and various soundscapes.Instrumentally the basic elements are Popeloff's jazzy solos and angular riffs, the highly technical rhythm section of Mara-Novik and Badirov and the modern keyboard lines of Albert Khalmurzayev with both flashy and more symphonic waves.The music is extremely tight with a nice balance between excessive soloing and structures themes, always dynamic and often furious.A few melodies and smoother passages breeze some fresh air among the complicated lines and the result is an often amazing and pretty solid work in the vein of LIQUID TENSION EXPERIMENT, DEREK SHERINIAN or 7 FOR 4.

Glad to see extremely technical musicians deliver nice, listenable material, because very often these kind of albums have let me down.''Overlook'' is not among them.It's solid and energetic Heavy Fusion with plenty of interesting ideas and impressive breaks.Strongly recommended...3.5 stars.

Latest members reviews

3 stars In their first album"Overlook", the band FROM-UZ, cause at least two different impressions, In first place... a great exercise of virtuosity, due to magistral development of various themes in a single track, a true demonstration of the musicians skill and inspiration ! But in second place... ... (read more)

Report this review (#886918) | Posted by maryes | Thursday, January 3, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars The band was formed in the summer of 2004 in the city of Tashkent (Uzbekistan, a former USSR republic near Iran and Afghanistan, hence their name). A session guitar player, Vitaly Popeloff, and his friend, a bass player called Andrew Mara-Novik, decided to play music together. This may explain ... (read more)

Report this review (#266481) | Posted by Thierry | Tuesday, February 16, 2010 | Review Permanlink

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