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Overhead - 2009 - "Live After All"

(185 min DVD, Metal Mind Records)


*****+
                 
TRACK LIST:                   

1.  Metaepitome
2.  Time Can Stay
3.  Butterfly's Cry
4.  A Method...
5.  ...To the madness
6.  A Captain on the Shore
7.  Entropy
8.  Dawn
9.  21st Century Schizoid Man

Extra material (90 min):

10.  Butterfly's Cry Video
11.  Time Can Stay Live 
12.  Lost Inside Live 
13.  Wainamoinen & Youkahainen Live 
14.  Warning: Ending Live 
15.  Point of View Live 
16.  Konevitsan Kirkonkeliot Live 
+    Interview with Alex Keskitalo

LINEUP:

Alex Keskitalo – vocals; flute
Tarmo Simonen – piano, polysix
Jaakko Kettunen – guitars 
Janne Pylkkonen – bass 
Ville Sjoblom – drums 

Prolusion. The Finnish act OVERHEAD was formed in 1999 and released its debut album "Zumanthum" three years later. Seemingly settling for a three year cycle, the next album "Metaepitome" followed in 2005 and the latest studio effort "And We're Not Here After All" in 2008. "Live After All" is the band's first DVD, and was issued by the Polish label Metal Mind Records in the spring of 2009.

Analysis. Unlike many other acts, Overhead has been a pretty stable band as far as line-up changes go, with the change of drummer prior to the recording of their second album the only such occurrence in its 10-year-long history. And with that many years of experience as a band unit, one expects them to be at least a decent live act. And as far as musical performance go, it's easy to tell that these guys know what to do and when to do it in a live setting. The musicianship is pretty tight overall; the band is secure enough to make more or less subtle alterations to the material when compared to the studio versions (apart from a few nervous tendencies in the opening minutes of this concert), so they still have development potential. Throughout the performance the individual members appear to be somewhat distant, not in an aloof way but more introverted. Smiles are few and far between, and those few are solely from front man Keskitalo. There's hardly any band interaction on stage either; each musician has his place on the stage and basically stays put – and again the only one breaking the mould to some extent is the vocalist. Body language and mimics reaching out to the audience, these subtle signals that are hard to perceive yet missed when not present, are indeed missing most of the time here and there's no reward for guessing where the exceptions arise. Keskitalo is a talented front man, but despite his slightly unkempt long hair, beard and flute, he's not Ian Anderson. As of today he isn't capable of carrying a show alone, so far is he lacking the charismatic persona of the truly great entertaining vocalists. When that is said, the band's stage presence is very professional. The individual members come across as confident in their roles, and they are way past the stage where someone looks a little bewildered and lost. These guys know what they are doing, but without any great passion conveyed in an easy to see manner. It is a good thing for the band that such an able company as Metal Mind has produced this DVD. On a less elaborate outing this lack of passion might have resulted in a pretty repetitive concert DVD. But the multitude of camera angles used for this venture, the close-ups of musicians playing their instruments, and the panorama shots showcasing the lighting effects, which this time around appear to be even better than on past productions - all add up to an interesting experience overall. The audio footage is of excellent quality too, as usual on a Metal Mind production. Indeed, all technical aspects of this DVD are of excellent quality, and with the budgets available for these kinds of productions, I find it hard to believe that it could have been done any better. As for anyone wondering about the style of music explored here, I'd compare it to a somewhat better known German act Sylvan, but with more of a vintage overall sound. The piano being chosen over synths in the tangents department pretty often as well as the flute of front man Keskitalo – the latter more similar to Camel than Jethro Tull in style – give Overhead's variety of art rock a certain ‘70s tinge to it; and perhaps a tad more symphonic edge than the aforementioned act Sylvan, whose output has somewhat more of a neo progressive tinge to it.

Conclusion. Fans of Overhead will probably want to get this production no matter what I'd say about it. It is their first DVD after all, which makes it a pretty automatic purchase for truly dedicated followers. There's also quite a lot of extra material added to this effort, and although not of high quality the additional 90 minutes offer a few extra treats for those into this act. Despite a few shortcomings this is a fine production overall and a good way of getting to know what this band is all about.

OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: December 2, 2009
The Rating Room


Related Links:

Metal Mind Records
Overhead


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