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(58 min, Musea)
TRACK LIST: 1. Metapitome 19:40 2. Warning: Ending 7:56 3. Point of View 5:17 4. Butterfly's Cry 7:03 5. Arrival of the Red Bumblebee 2:16 6. Down 16:22 All tracks: by Overhead. Produced by Simonen & Overhead. LINEUP: Tarmo Simonen - piano & synthesizers Alex Keskitalo - vocals; flute Jaakko Kettunen - guitars Janne Pylkonen - bass Ville Sjoblom - drums
Prolusion. OVERHEAD is a young Finnish band, whose members' average age does not exceed twenty-six years. "Metaepitome" is their second official release, following "Zumanthum", which was released by Mellow Records in 2002.
Analysis. Overhead's second album shows the further growth of the band's skill, particularly in the department of composition, as the music has become somewhat more profound and intriguing. On the other hand, some of the tracks here contain heavily derivative features, which didn't take place on "Zumanthum", and the chameleon singer Alex Keskitalo refused to use all the timbres of his wide voice diapason in favor of traditional theatric singing. The nearly 20-minute title track is certainly the best number in this show, although it features tunes, whose origins are beyond any doubt, to say the least. Metaepitome begins and ends with nice passages of acoustic guitar, while the principal events unfold in a very unexpected way. During the first five minutes, the band explores territories belonging to classic symphonic Art-Rock, with lots of colors of vintage Hammond and Mellotron in the palette, but then suddenly changes the sound, the central theme being not unlike the introduction to Another Brick in the Wall by Pink Floyd. Most of the contents of the song's second one fourth are heavily influenced by the Space Rock pioneers, and there is one more theme, which was borrowed if not just stolen from them. Thankfully, the musicians more or less quickly came to their senses (if it's possible to say so in this situation, when everything was done wittingly), and the second half of the epic finds Overhead at their most adventurous. It was impossible to foreknow that after sliding somewhere between classic Art-Rock and Neo in the course of the next few minutes the group would enter the realm of symphonic Doom Metal, whose level of diversity and progressiveness as such is probably higher than anywhere on the album. I am amazed at these guys' inventiveness, especially when they interweave airy passages of acoustic guitar and piano into dense basic textures, but I really wonder why the band, whose own original vision of musical matters is so striking, finds appropriate to appeal to the others' ideas and, besides which, to reproduce the tunes that are known to everyone. The music on the next two tracks: Warning: Ending and Point of View develops much in the same vein as that on the second half of Metaepitome: from something average between classic Art-Rock and Neo to progressive Doom Metal, still with plenty of acoustic and similar fabrics cleverly inculcated in heavy ones. While these, as well as the other two shorter tracks, are less intricate than the suite that has given the title to the CD, they are highly impressive and are free of direct traces of anyone's influences. The amount of pronouncedly heavy elements lessens while the album unfolds to disappear on the fourth track, once and forever. Butterfly's Cry is the one with the flute solos taking the lead in most cases and is very beautiful. Just like in the case of Overhead's debut outing, one of the tracks here, Arrival of the Red Bumblebee, is an instrumental piece of light Classical music, featuring only piano and synthetic strings. But what a feeble band, incapable of resisting infections! The trick with Another Brick, that scared the wonderful title track, was scrupulously repeated in the very beginning of Down (and has killed this pseudo epic). The song runs more than 16 minutes, but is poor in tempo changes, lying within the framework of symphonic Space Rock typical for late Pink Floyd, with only occasional digressions from there - towards the album's primary style.
Conclusion. Of course, it's the last track that pushed me to deprive this disc of half a rating star, and not the presence of derivative features on the opening one, although I am certain that the band always knew what they were doing. But you see this is still a high rating, and I am not the one who would give such for nothing. Most of the music is excellent, and Overhead is definitely a band to watch in the future. They only shouldn't play games with their passions anymore.
VM: June 9, 2005
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