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There are times when one cannot help but wonder why a band is not better known (or more active), and that is the case for Ovus. Noticing a quote about them in the press release from Ambient Light I sought out the full review to discover that it was about a gig they played in Auckland in 2018 supporting one of their inspirations, Intervals. During that set the band actually played two of the three songs from this EP – nothing strange in that you might say, except this is a brand-new release and the gig was from four years ago. They also have the same line-up in Adam Sive (guitar), Jig Jasmat (drums), Joe Murphy (guitar) and Josh Murray (big guitar), so lack of stability is also probably not why it has taken them so long to follow up, but apparently, they are planning a nationwide tour next year so hopefully I will catch them again. There are very few bands who manage to really capture the imagination as an instrumental act, as many listeners are there for the singer, often seeing the rest of the musicians as supports as opposed to equal members. Although every progressive band prides themselves on being able to perform long instrumental passages there are not many who have reached wide acclaim without a singer of some sort, with Ozric Tentacles being an obvious exception, and even though The Fierce and The Dead have released instrumental albums in the past, their new material now features a singer. Progressive bands are known for their musical prowess, and the lack of a singer means there are no constraints of having to fit into a normal verse/chorus structure and sometimes complexity can get in the way of musicality which makes the songs difficult to understand, but fortunately here we have music being presented to us in a complicated manner which works incredibly well. As well as Intervals they have previously cited Animals As Leaders, Opeth, and Snarky Puppy as influences but Protest The Hero sounds like it has a place on their players, while Dream Theater is another (although there are no keyboards). Given that at least some of the material is quite old, there is no surprise that it comes across as well balanced, with every musician knowing their part and bringing it, big time. Every drumbeat, every note all have their place, with the bass sat in tight on the guitars providing depth to the melody and the guitars switching leads, yet there is also a fine understanding of the need for dynamics and the use of space with many different techniques being brought to bear. The result is a 17-minute-long EP which is a delight and will be thoroughly enjoyed by progheads who enjoy their music to come at them from the metallic end of the spectrum. Well worthy of investigation.
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