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Overhead - Metaepitome CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

3.92 | 117 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
2 stars 2.5 stars really!!

Second album from one of the latest Scandinavian-associated (Finnish) group that specializes in a sort of retro-prog, even if this is more of a Swedish/Norwegian tradition than these ever-crazy Finns. This quintet (standard prog quartet plus a singer/flauter) is creating some rather run-of-the-mill prog that has been heard hundreds of times before, often resorting to 70's reminiscent sound and worse, the occasional shameless borrowings. A rather average artwork for an unremarkable album would seem to be the quick judgment, if Overhead did not have a few trumps up their sleeves, one of them being that the group does try to sound more modern than their peers. I got to listen to this album over the course of three months as I received it on loan from a buddy, but I must say that I returned to it a few times more on self-imposed obligations (rather than by pleasure) as I simply failed to recognize the merits my friend was hammering to me.

Right from the first notes of the opening self-titled "epic", the listener is warned that a thorough trip inside his nostalgia mixed with more modern sounds. Maybe this huge rip- off from Purple's Child In Time (or Bombay Calling if you wish) around the 10-min mark (but hints of it had started as soon as the seventh minutes) is upsetting me every time I hear it (the sad part of it is that it is from far the better moment of the song), but I find that the same old Neo-prog "ritournelle" (same old song >> and dance my friend ;- ) comes back. Can't help but thinking of early-Hogarth Marillion, Valinor's Tree, RPWL, Land's End (thanks Gatot, I couldn't put my finger on it), Versus X (the piano moments) and a few more like Discipline etc. Some of the shorter tracks filling (literally as well as figuratively) the album's middle section are quite unremarkable, borderline noisy and irritating (only Warning finding some grace to this writer's ears) until we get to the second epic Dawn. This second epic is carried out on a semi-metallic guitar riff until a lengthy instrumental passage where guitars and keyboards entwine, before the vocals takes over and finishes the track (it does die out beautifully, though). Although once again there is nothing unpleasant, I am particularly shaken to see that so few things are happening in such a long time. I am a little surprised to have heard so few flutes though.

More Neo than Retro, Overhead's second album is nothing you haven't heard before (except maybe for the subtle Child In Bombay Calling Time rework ;-) and although there I am sure all five musicians invested vast amount of time and labour of love (and most likely hard-earned money as well), this old pagan has not been able to appreciate much of it. Shame on me, maybe!! Some of you are wondering what I'm still doing reviewing albums in a style I don't particularly appreciate, and I can only answer: 1- I'm trying to keep up with the modern actual scene 2- checking out the hype around these newer groups (and I had heard lots about this one) 3- filling out my curiosity as I still hope to find a masterpiece in this genre 4- publicly exhorting/exorcising my shameful lack of understanding of such oeuvres. For the Neo-prog fans, I have no doubt this album is much worth the listen and investment, although I am not sure they would call it essential. At least I don't.

Sean Trane | 2/5 |


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