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Ovrfwrd - Occupations of Uninhabited Space CD (album) cover

OCCUPATIONS OF UNINHABITED SPACE

Ovrfwrd

 

Heavy Prog

4.43 | 10 ratings

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Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer
4 stars The Heavy Prog quartet with a disdain for vowels broke a three-year silence with this interim project: part compilation; part sneak preview; and in large part a warm-up (hopefully) for actual concert dates.

Technically it's a live album, albeit performed in the controlled environment of a recording studio, over a whirlwind two-day session in early August of 2017. The setlist included thrilling interpretations of older tracks off the band's first two (highly recommended) efforts, plus a test-run of two stunning numbers from their forthcoming album "Blurring the Lines (A Democracy Manifest)". The wild-card of the bunch is an energetic update of the 1981 Iron Maiden instrumental "Genghis Khan", offering a signpost for newcomers to one of the band's many influences (mid-70's King Crimson is another obvious taproot). A quick, personal side-note: I've never been a fan of Iron Maiden, but after hearing this muscular cover maybe I should be...

Revisiting their own early repertoire was a smart idea, especially after such a long absence. Like a pair of snug shoes that fit more comfortably over time, the older material played here has improved with age, and benefits greatly from the dynamic spontaneity of a live performance, even in an Uninhabited Space without an authentic audience. Because let's face it, fellow Progheads: overdubs are for pussies. The true test of any real musician has always been an ability to deliver the goods without the safety net of cosmetic editing, and Ovrfwrd ace that exam with the easy confidence of seasoned professionals.

The effort is also being sold as a 'soundtrack' album: these live sessions were filmed, and according to the Ovrfwrd website a DVD will be on the market before the end of 2018 (a fast-approaching deadline by the way, guys...) Video samples have already appeared YouTube, so I will resist further comment until the official release, except to note the monster chops of all four players, obvious even in the audio version here.

It might be only a stop-gap release between studio albums, but this set accomplishes two vital goals: it succeeds is reestablishing Ovrfwrd as a musical force to be reckoned with, and (perhaps more importantly) shows what a powerhouse live act they are. All the music, old and new, was made stronger than ever in the mock-concert setting, removing any doubt that the quartet is one of the more exciting instrumental outfits to emerge this decade.

Neu!mann | 4/5 |

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