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OVRFWRD

Heavy Prog • United States


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Ovrfwrd picture
Ovrfwrd biography
Founded in Minneapolis, USA in 2012

This is a four piece American band that plays instrumental progressive rock. They were formed in 2012 with drummer Rikki DAVENPORT, guitarist Mark ILAUG, bassist Kyle LUND and keyboardist Chris MALMGREN. They came together with diverse and complex backgrounds and musical influences. Initially the band was supposed to have a vocalist, but he didn't show up at the recording sessions. Beyond the Visible Light was recorded in 5 days and is a adventure with many colors and textures. They show some influences from many bands of the 70's Prog Rock scene with some intrusion in the Jazz Rock genre. Their debut "Beyond the Visible" Light was released in 2014 and is an adventurous listening journey with many colors and textures. In 2015 they released "Fantasy Absent Reason" (vinyl) continuing on the path of sonic textures and soundscapes. Together they have a common goal; to create and perform powerful, colorful, interesting and sonically descriptive music, engaging and pushing forward on the musical journey.

The band has released a live cd in 2018 containing tracks from the first 2 albums and new tracks for a future release. The live cd will also be release in dvd format later this year.

Bio by rdtprog updated by Chris Malmgren

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OVRFWRD Videos (YouTube and more)


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OVRFWRD discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

OVRFWRD top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.64 | 20 ratings
Beyond The Visible Light
2014
3.76 | 29 ratings
Fantasy Absent Reason
2015
4.14 | 171 ratings
Blurring The Lines ... A Democracy Manifest
2018
4.05 | 22 ratings
StarStuff
2020

OVRFWRD Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.42 | 10 ratings
Occupations of Uninhabited Space
2018

OVRFWRD Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.00 | 2 ratings
Occupations of Uninhabited Space
2019

OVRFWRD Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

OVRFWRD Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

OVRFWRD Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 StarStuff by OVRFWRD album cover Studio Album, 2020
4.05 | 22 ratings

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StarStuff
Ovrfwrd Heavy Prog

Review by felonafan

4 stars "StarStuff" is the fourth studio album by OVRFWRD, a Minneapolis-based instrumental quartet that has existed for eight years with the same lineup: Chris Malmgren (keyboards), Mark Ilaug (guitar), Kyle Lund (bass) and Richard Davenport (drums). If the previous (2018) album lasted about 54 minutes, then the new one does not even reach 40 minutes. This is probably a good thing, because if "StarStuff" were longer, then perhaps its disadvantages would be even more noticeable. Such disadvantages include the lack of bright, "catchy" moments and in some places the background nature of the music. The best of seven tracks is the second, "Let It Burn (King George)", featuring beautiful parts from guest flutist Paula Gudmundson. Thanks to her, the middle of the opus stands out especially. The first and third tracks are little inferior to this work - the driving, energetic and nervous "Firelight" with memorable aggressive organ parts a la Jon Lord and the title track with its psychedelic, meditative and sad "notes". Moreover, I can focus on a very good fifth composition "Daybreak": it is a beautiful, jazzed, purely piano "contemplative" piece. Much of the rest of the material - especially, perhaps, the last track "From Parts Unknown" - loses in terms of having something that would capture the spirit and imagination of listeners. This music clearly lacks either vocals, or good parts on strings and/or winds (it's a pity that Gudmundson played so little on the album), or just some godsends in the field of melodies, chord sequences, thematic development, or stylistic diversity. The already mentioned 2018 album was richer in sound and genre diversity: the musicians either played hard and aggressively, then went to the "East" or ambient. Therefore, despite the much longer duration, the 2018 release was not perceived as too much long. The musicians of OVRFWRD are strong professionals. They are not only proficient instrumentalists, but also "play conjunctly", "in a cohesive way". The band has great potential and is able to record a "StarAlbum". The conclusion: "StarStuff" as a whole can be seen as an attainment of an ensemble that is able to achieve more. 3.5 rounded up.
 StarStuff by OVRFWRD album cover Studio Album, 2020
4.05 | 22 ratings

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StarStuff
Ovrfwrd Heavy Prog

Review by prog_traveller!!

4 stars Ovrfwrd is back after their fantastic Blurring The Lines... A Democracy Manifest from 2018. Their new album StarStuff brings another fantastic instrumental heavy prog ride. Firelight is the first song on the album and it welcomes us with roaring Hammond the best way to start this heavy prog heaven. Let It Burn [King George] is a great song and it reminds me of Uriah Heep's Deamons and Wizards period which of course is not a bad thing. The entire album brings a fine Hammond driven prog rock with great guitar riffs and solos. It also delivers some slower tunes with great usage of Mellotron and piano which gives that dreamy feeling. All in all is a great heavy prog album and it will not leave you disappointed.
 StarStuff by OVRFWRD album cover Studio Album, 2020
4.05 | 22 ratings

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StarStuff
Ovrfwrd Heavy Prog

Review by Tull Tales

3 stars The album is performed well and the overall "sound" as far as engineering & production are concerned, is good. I really like the first two songs, Firelight and Let It Burn (King George). Unfortunately, for me it goes down substantially from there.

The songwriting just does not move me. It seems very repetitive. They utilize a riff or chord progression over and over, and then move on to the next one. Some of these are interesting enough, but they don't ever seem to develop into anything substantive after that. Someone else mentioned the lack of vocals and I do feel like many times the album sounds like a backing track for the missing vocals.

I have given this one many listens trying to see if it is a grower or maybe I was missing something, but for me it just does not have that "it" that I look for, sorry.

 StarStuff by OVRFWRD album cover Studio Album, 2020
4.05 | 22 ratings

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StarStuff
Ovrfwrd Heavy Prog

Review by 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!

 StarStuff by OVRFWRD album cover Studio Album, 2020
4.05 | 22 ratings

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StarStuff
Ovrfwrd Heavy Prog

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars These serious proggers from Minneapolis have done it again--and the quality and improvements just keep getting better with each release!

1. "StarStuff" (5:09) awesome space music instrumental with an A-B-A-C-A-B structure! (9.5/10)

2. "Firelight" (5:37) opens with dirty Hammond organ giving us warning for what's ahead in a URIAH HEEP kind of way. By 0:50 the full soundscape has been revealed, by 1:45 the soloing styles of the guitar and organ--at least until the halfway point, at which time the organ serves notice that "part 2" is about to be unleashed. Some cool riffs, motifs, and tempo shifts in that second half thought the song ends feeling kind of unresolved. (8.75/10)

3. "Let It Burn [King George]" (5:58) strumming guitars, acoustic and electric, with flute, bass, organ, piano, and drums filling the space quite sumptuously. Nice switch up at 1:44. This music reminds me of early FROM.UZ. The pastoral flute and tinkling piano and cymbals is nice--but then the flute unexpectedly goes off running, leaving the rest of the band to try to catch up. Nice! Bluesy guitar solo around the 4:00 mark is inspired by the flute, but then takes it further--almost into heavy metal or at least ROBIN TROWER territory. Nice. (9/10)

4. "Look Up" (8:21) a very pleasant excursion into jazz-rock fusion territory--turning more bluesy-psychedelia as the guitar takes over and wails. This is, for once, a rather full and complete sounding song--but, I hate to say it, but it is screaming for a vocalist and some lyrics. (13.5/15)

5. "Daybreak" (2:48) opens with an emotionally-bouncing chord at the low end of a solo piano, which is then joined by the right hand. By the end of the first minute, both hands are moving around the keyboard in a contemplative improvisational way. I'm so reminded of both MAGMA's "Coltrane sundia" as well as an early MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA piece. (4.5/5) 6. "Zathras" (4:35) picking electric guitar and arpeggiating piano weave in and out of each other's paths in a minor key before being joined by cymbals, bass, kick drum, and Mellotron strings and then, finally, around 2:30, full drums. Nice full-band cohesion in expressing this four-chord progression. Wah-ed electric guitar solos in the fourth minute with a more-restrained THE CURE "The Kiss" kind of way. Great ideas and execution but, yet again, the song feels unfinished, unresolved--like it's just a jam. (8.75/10)

7. "From Parts Unknown" (6:25) a little more sparse and spacious--kind of Post Rock-ish--in the opening of this one. The chord progression here is quite similar to that of TOM PETTY's "Free Fallin'" which, for me, is a negative. Nice drumming and solo guitar performances. Like the slow flange of the strumming guitar as the piano and drums start to go crazy for the finish. (8.5/10)

Total Time 38:53

A band who seems to love taking a riff, sound, or chord progression from other classic bands songs to inspire their own jams. All band members are quite proficient instrumentalists, and competent sound engineers, but in order to achieve that top-tier status and recognition, I need to see more development and "finishing" of song ideas. Also, several of these songs are really begging to be sung over. Time to take the next step, boys!

B+/4.5 stars; an excellent addition to any prog lover's music collection; some very fine performances of a diverse palette of instrumental prog rock.

 StarStuff by OVRFWRD album cover Studio Album, 2020
4.05 | 22 ratings

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StarStuff
Ovrfwrd Heavy Prog

Review by Rivertree
Special Collaborator PSIKE Team & Band Submissions

4 stars What a sworn unity, I mean this band, the line up as a constant as such, and those high quality standards in the same way. That is Mark Ilaug (guitars), Chris Malmgren (keyboards), Kyle Lund (bass) and drummer Rikki Davenport. Since 2012 they are delivering instrumental progressive rock at its best. And, come what may, f*** Covid-19, as the songs were written between January and July 2020, fortunately they do not stop. My former experiences with this band all were highly positive. Due to complexity and diversity their music bears a proper eclectic mood and ambiance. And now the good news, 'StarStuff' proves that the general spirit is quite evident, still. Thus now my sole fear stays, that I yet will misspell that band name at some point :-) Released via Rock Slacks Music the concept obviously also included a vinyl release on this occasion, that said here we have roundabout 40 minutes playing time, divided in 7 pieces.

With Firelight they immediately set an exclamation mark, OVRFWRD (correct?) is on fire, powerful, with dramatic organ and proper groove. Let It Burn (King George) then sees Paula Gudmundson with some nice flute contribution, and of course Mark Ilaug's haunting guitar solo excursion later on. The title track proves the band's skills that much. Just serves another very melancholic and psychedelic mood, also featuring spheric synths. This album again guarantees an entertaining experience. All over the course Chris Malmgren is underway with an extensive equipment, speaking of organ, piano, Moog and Mellotron. Means a lot to me, regarding approach and execution the OVRFWRD crew belongs to the finest contemporary prog bands deriving from the US.

 StarStuff by OVRFWRD album cover Studio Album, 2020
4.05 | 22 ratings

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StarStuff
Ovrfwrd Heavy Prog

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars Ovrfwrd has been one of my favorite American bands since their very first album, 'Beyond the Visible Light', that stunned the 2014 prog market and raised a few eyebrows. The all-out instrumental quartet has sizzled ever since, regularly releasing albums that maintain or even surpass their initial foray. There is also another constant that is remarkable: the same band members have solidified their musical relationship and find themselves progressing further down their artistic path. 4 exceptionally gifted musicians, namely keyboardist Chris Malmgren, guitarist Marl Ilaug, bassist Kyle Lund and my current choice drum maestro Rikki Davenport! Both 'Fantasy Absent Reason' (2015) and 2018's stellar 'Blurring the Lines'A Democracy Manifest' kept the course steady, culminating in 'Starstuff'. Historically, I have never been a big fan of virtuoso displays of technique that always seem to subvert composition, melody and arrangement, which is why I only have one Wyngvie Malmsteen recording in my collection. But Ovrfwrd creates memorable pieces of music where each member is an equal partner , very much a team effort from start to finish, mastering the art of interplay , common feel , sense of purpose and deft touch in all of the notes they display. This why this band is in my treasure chest, you can listen to both the whole and the individual parts, in any combination and hear the sheer tightness for yourself.

The bravado of opening up with a growling, sweaty Jon Lord-like organ attack is proof of their immediacy and balls, within a minute all the fury and gusto kick in, to wit : cyclical guitar patterns that would make Lifeson-Fripp proud, booming bass undertow and the wickedly dextrous Davenport , bashing away with precise zeal. Within seconds, Ovrfwrd grabs your aural attention and does not let go an inch. 'Firelight' is an aptly named scorcher that lights a hell of a burn under any listener's armchair. The organ scours, scrapes and shatters unflinchingly. One word: WOW!

The fittingly named 'Let it Burn (King George)' keeps the bonfire raging but now adding subtlety to the mix , with a delicate flute to establish contrast , as Ilaug unleashes a crying axe solo that really hits the spot, with Rikki blasting his drum kit mercilessly. The cohesion and maturity are enhanced now more than ever, as the attention to detail, both light and shadow as well as emotional effect, reign supreme. The enchanting title track evokes a gentle veneer, offering orchestral string synths galore, as the clanging guitars envelop the piece in a swirl of progressive bliss. While there are obvious Rush influences (mostly in technical terms), this is an original group of musicians that take their craft very seriously and their catalog clearly proves their dedication.

The heaviness returns momentarily on the explosive 'Looking Up' where Rikki kicks his kit into overdrive (or should I type ovrdrv? pun intended) , before a totally unexpected bass groove settles the scene into a jazzier realm , adorned by some tasty electric piano fills, and some oblique guitar lines that will just blow minds. As the 8 minutes + roll forward, the persistent ebb and flow are quite the spectacle. The piano-led etude 'Daybreak' flashes the spotlight on Chris Malmgren's dexterity on ivories, a relaxed piece that serves as a wonderfully calming break before the final fury.

The tingling 'Zathras' may initially evoke a Steve Howe style of guitar exercise but the mood quickly deflects to a more symphonic approach, what with the slow buildup of piano, keys, rumbling bass and slick drum patterns that coalesce into a rambling colossus. Ilaug rips off a wicked guitar solo full of effect and sizzle, spiralling slowly into the horizon. And now for a total change of pace, the finale is quite the departure. 'From Parts Unknown' shows off some typical American roots, slightly country or folk tinged, as if inspired by Canned Heat or Neil Young, piano still in the place but the guitar twanging and rocking! The intensity of the outro is dazzling, daring to pull off a fade and return delirium as once fathered by Roxy Music on the classic 'In Every Dream Home a Heartache'. Brazen and ballsy once again, they are continuously broadening their palette, much to the prog community's satisfaction. Very gratifying tour de force and a band that deserves the loftiest praise.

Instrumental prog does not get much better than this, serving up unending creativity, impeccable technique and a cohesive musical legacy.

5 astronomical paraphernalia

 StarStuff by OVRFWRD album cover Studio Album, 2020
4.05 | 22 ratings

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StarStuff
Ovrfwrd Heavy Prog

Review by CeeJayGee

4 stars My introduction to OVRFWRD's music was their last release, Blurring The Lines...A Democracy Manifest which I very much enjoyed. Their latest album StarStuff is due for release at the beginning of October 2020 and demonstrates that this band maintains a consistency in the high quality of its releases. I enjoyed the whole of StarStuff from first listen and have not tired of it after several more. Entirely instrumental, as was their last release, and comprising seven tracks. The band is classified as Heavy Prog but is capable of producing subtle and quite beautiful music. A good example is the title track which is also my favourite track for the album. This really is a delightful album and is highly recommended.
 StarStuff by OVRFWRD album cover Studio Album, 2020
4.05 | 22 ratings

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StarStuff
Ovrfwrd Heavy Prog

Review by rdtprog
Special Collaborator Heavy / RPI / Symphonic Prog Team

4 stars This band started to write this album in January 2020 and was recorded in a five days session in Minneapolis. The first track showcases some delicious Hammond organ not too far from Jon Lord. The bass sound is strong and as always the rhythm section solid. The band has light a fire here in this first song. The second track they let the fire burn with some lighter passage of flute and piano keeping the fire alive with some busy drums and guitar. The title track delivers some spacey atmosphere and a sound that reminds me of the Swedish band Landberk. This instrumental music that sounds at times like a control improvisation adds a little psychedelic touch with the guitar play of Mark Ilaug. The track ''Zathers'' starts peacefully with some tasty guitar parts and piano that gets on the heavy side slowly. This new recording shows a band that did not disappoint again for those who enjoy heavy instrumental music that brings a variety of moods.
 Blurring The Lines ... A Democracy  Manifest by OVRFWRD album cover Studio Album, 2018
4.14 | 171 ratings

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Blurring The Lines ... A Democracy Manifest
Ovrfwrd Heavy Prog

Review by FragileKings
Prog Reviewer

5 stars It's been a while since I reviewed Ovrfrwd's album, "Fantasy Absent Reason". It remember liking it enough that I considered buying a copy on CD but was swept away by other interests at the time. There's only so much music an income can buy!

So it was that I was checking my PA inbox and found not one but three messages from the band inviting me to listen to their recent releases. I had barely gotten the music settled in my computer when my hard drive crashed and I lost everything I hadn't stored away externally. So, with this new release sounding so good, I just went ahead and ordered three of the band's CDs. One victory for physical copies: hard drives may come and go but barring any disasters a CD collection lives on!

Now here it is, "Blurring the Lines", Ovrfrwd's 2018 release, their fourth album if I have that correctly and their latest offering of new studio material (a live DVD has since been released). This album is really a solid piece of work, in my opinion. It's all instrumental as are most of their recordings and does a splendid job of covering heavy and sometimes even dark prog rock as well as going classic prog crazy, light and beautiful, and even downright horror show spooky in places. Another review states that their music is based on simple rock compositions but cleverly sounds more complex and skillful. Honestly, I couldn't tell if these guys are top tier virtuosos or just really talented blokes down the street. What I can tell is that they have created possibly their best album to date with tracks that intrigue, captivate and surprise!

I'm just listening now to that spooky piano in "Return to Slender" and it feels like Mike Meyers (from Halloween not Wayne's World) is lurking outside the house. Then these really gritty guitar chords crunch in and the music crosses insane raunchy guitar with that spooky piano. This is followed by a beautiful, short acoustic guitar piece.

The opening track, "Wretch" is one of those modern-day prog rock tracks that gives us guitar melodies that come close to Pink Floyd at times while still being generally too active and busy to be confused with Pink Floyd. Meanwhile, down the track list, "The Trapper's Daughter" sounds like the band collaborated a bit with Trent Reznor with some cool industrial parts that work well with Ovrfrwd's blend of heavy prog and some instances of classic prog manoeuvres. "Forbidden Valley Opiate" opens with some speedy guitar supported by organ and some aggressive drumming. The track later becomes dramatic and grandiose in the final minutes.

One really cool surprise is, "Cosmic Pillow". Beginning with soothing sitar and some soft and beautiful piano, the track develops with tabla percussion and more developed piano before later turning into another crushing, dark piece, with some classic prog quirkiness about it. Then there's a Voivod-like guitar and the sky comes crashing down in sinister black clouds. It's a grand example of how Ovrfwrd can shift gears in their compositions, moving from relaxing and mind-soothing music to something that would make some people feel panicky.

The goes on with a very seventies-sounding intro to "Another Afterthought" that seems it will stay the course until once more the tones change and change again. I love music that keeps dropping in surprises and is unpredictable. Ovrfwrd are able to capture the nostalgic moods of the seventies, darker sounds of modern times, and paint moments of feel-good music and beauty. There's often a sense of blues rock / heavy psychedelic / jazz-inspired jamming, especially with the guitar and drums, while the piano and keyboards often hold down the moods and melodies.

Perhaps one point to note here is that this album features more tracks than their previous releases, meaning there are more shorter compositions than their older albums which had a lot more mini-epics. But that has no bearing on the quality of the music.

This is an album from which I can keep extracting goodies with each subsequent listen. Very suitable for my tastes!

Thanks to rdtprog for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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