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Ovrfwrd - Beyond the Visible Light CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

3.67 | 28 ratings

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3 stars 3.0 Stars. Biting off more than they can chew, but clearly talented.

I was introduced to this band a few weeks ago when one of their members kindly offered their two albums for review. I decided to start off with their debut so I could see how they progressed to their more recent album. Ovrfwrd are a all-instrumental band that prefer to stay in the hard rock area most of the time, although they are capable of being quite relaxed as well as going into metal from time to time.

Their first album is quite ambitious for a debut, with it containing 5 songs all ranging from 8-11 minutes in length. Writing complex instrumental music that can tie in all the different sections to make one coherent epic 5 times in a row is certainly not easy. They do however succeed mostly in a two of their songs but the rest tends to have one or two weak parts that does not work. That being said each song has at least something that is enjoyable, and its clear the band have an eye for not only complex instrumentals but making it catchy as well which is very important for the long term enjoy ability of this album.

Things start very positively with the opening of "Can We Keep the Elephant?" which has a very strong hard-rock hook to instantly grab your attention. They play around with this theme for a good 2 and a half minutes, adding a subtracting instruments to keep things varied. Things slow down significantly and get very calm and atmospheric before the tempo picks up and a new rock theme is introduced, followed by a reprise of the opening theme and more experimentation. This layout of songwriting is very typical for the whole album and in theory is a good formula to be using. The rock themes blend very well together and they are capable of switching from one high temp melody to another with little difficulty. Where the piece struggles is transitioning from load to quiet and vise- versa, and its not until their next album that they fix this problem.

"Stones of Temperance" Is one of the most successful songs on the album, with them starting quietly but with a dark piano driven atmosphere. They slowly increase the intensity of the main melody using electric guitars and thundering drums which reaches a climax at 3 min. Things settle for a while with them being more relaxed and lower in energy before they slowly get load again. They show off their very strong instrumental abilities for the first time here and its clear how talented they are. I think the reason why this song works better than the last is that they for the most part stick with one musical idea and fully expand on it instead of adding and dropping ideas, which makes for a more coherent song.

"Raviji" is the longest song on the album and it starts with a quite lazy jam-like intro with the band bursting out musical ideas and then shrinking back again. At around 2 min things really get going with a solid and steady rock instrumental which is fairly catchy followed by another longer lasting rock theme. At around 6 minutes they temporally settle down for around 40 seconds before going into full attack again. The quiet part is again where they are musically at their weakest as this interlude adds nothing to the piece but merely breaks up the song and makes it less coherent.

"The Man With No Shoes" is for me the weakest song on the album, although this may partly be due to it sounding too similar to the first and third song i.e hard rock for the first 5 minutes, a soft and fairly dull interlude and then hard rock to finish with them repeating the opening theme. It also has the weakest connections between different sections of the song. But as with the other songs the instrumentation is strong and the opening and closing theme always have a good memorable hook so its not a poor track.

Things finish with "Darkest Star" which fortunately breaks the mold of the album and sees them going in a more metal direction. They start quietly and unlike elsewhere in the album this part is fully enjoyable in its own right. They begin the song by combining a spacey electric guitar and synths with some more classical arrangements to good effect, and not only that they fully expand on this section for a appropriate amount of time. Halfway though the song they add heavy elements which is slowly allowed to build until they create an intense metal maelstrom. Along with track two this song is one of the main highlights and is up to the quality of their next album.

"Beyond the visible light" is an ambitious album which unfortunately does not get everything right, but it clearly shows their talent and what they are capable of achieving. The main issues come from how they deal with the quiet sections of their songs and making each track distinguishable for each other. The good news is that they sort out all of these teething problems in their next release and produce a very strong second album. So I would strongly recommend getting their second album first before going for this one. There are still lots of things to enjoy here, especially in the heavier moments so its well worth a listen. 3 stars seems like the perfect rating for this album, a good first effort!

LakeGlade12 | 3/5 |


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