Overhead - 'Of Sun And Moon' (Progressive Promotion Records) Print E-mail
CD Reviews
Written by Mark Ashby   
Friday, 10 August 2012 04:00

Overhead_-_Of_Sun_And_MoonTen years into their career, and four years after their last release (three if you count 2009's 'Live At Last' DVD), Finnish progressive metallers Overhead are back with their fourth studio album, and their first for the German PPR label. It's an album that the band say is inspired by the "perpetual darkness of the Finnish winter (and) the never ending sunlight of the Finnish summer", so it's not surprising that it is filled with contrasts - from hard-edged, angular guitar riffs through soaring solos, to huge swathes of groovy jazz (such as the opening section of 'An Afternoon Of Sun And Moon', a track which summarises the feel of the entire opus with its stunning combination of light and dark, or the Mahavishnu Orchestra inspired instrumental 'Grotte', complete with beautiful flute passages).


Opener 'Lost Inside 2' is a fairly straightforward way to kick things off, but within seconds the layers of complexity start to rise to the surface, with the contrast between the almost ambient atmospherics of Tarmo Simonen's keyboards and the metallic edge of the guitars and drums, all held together by vocalist Alex Keskitalo's amazingly versatile voice, and the second half of the track just explodes into an amazingly anarchic soundscape of purity combined with rage. 'Berlin' is the heaviest track, understated in its power and its restraining of the pure violence of its subject matter: there are moments were the fury threatens to break free of its chains, but the musicians know how far to strain themselves and pull the monster of a tune back at just the precise second to stop the anger boiling over.


Serving as the halfway point, 'Syriana' is a pivotal moment: it opens with a keyboard swirl so retro that it has its own time machine - and it's a motif continued throughout the track, combined with another groove-laden bass line, as it builds towards a chorus featuring one of the heaviest guitar riffs so far, before introducing the sort of atmospheric middle section that was a trademark of the likes of Camel in their heyday. After the beauty of the aforementioned 'Grotte', 'Last Broadcast' is a sublimely ambient soundtrack for a lazy Sunday afternoon, with Keskitalo's heart-breakingly under-stated vocal delivery once again perfectly complementing the musical backdrop as the slowly builds toward its soaring finale.


Another contrast comes with 'Alive', a synth-introduced slice of gloriously catchy electro-pop, the middle portion of which has a funked up Heaven 17/Spandau Ballet vibe to it, before Jaakko Kettunen interjects with a hard-as-(nine inch)nails industrial guitar line which leads into the much heavier last third, with its soaring guitar solo backdrop. Closer 'Angels And Demons' is suitably bombastic, with its huge choral intro leading into stunning combination of folk, funk and metal (with Kettunen delivering another brilliant solo) - and even honky tonk - all of which sounds like it shouldn't work but does so with glorious effect and reminds (in a weird kind of way), of It Bites.


Stunning stuff indeed. I need a lie down after that...




To pick up your copy of 'Of Sun And Moon (Ltd Edt)' - CLICK HERE