Overhead - Haydenspark

(CD 2018, 51.50, Private Release)

The tracks:
  1- Animation For The Poor Man(4:13)
  2- Last Generation(5:15)
  3- Count Your Blessings(4:44)
  4- Haydenspark(9:24)
  5- King Of The World(5:31)
  6- Across The Nation(5:23)
  7- Death By Tribulation(5:19)
  8- The Fall(3:54)
  9- Gone Too Far(8:04)

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Website info; Overhead began in 1999 and released a trilogy of studio albums: Zumanthum (2002), Metaepitome (2005) and And We're Not Here After All (2008). The works received excellent reviews, radio play and recognition around the globe. The success of the albums led to the band touring in rock-clubs and festivals around Europe. In 2009 the band headed to Poland where Overhead's first DVD Live After All (see review) was recorded. The band further supported the new album and DVD with their longest tour yet, playing very successful shows around Europe celebrating the 10th anniversary of Overhead. In 2012 Overhead released Of Sun and Moon (see review). The album defined the band's sound even further and was very well received by the fans and critics alike. The release was followed by more live dates and Overhead reached new territories playing festivals in the UK, and in Italy for the first time. The show in Italy was also filmed and released as a DVD. Now after years of hard work, and closing in on the band's 20-year old mark, Overhead are back with the new album Haydenspark.

So Finnish formation Overhead has released five studio-albums, I am only familiar with their second effort entitled Metaepitome, from 2005. That one succeeded in generating a lot of excitement, and I noticed that Overhead did their best to create an own progressive rock sound. After my first Haydenspark listening session I conclude that this new album sounds harder-edged, and the keyboards are more on the background. The atmosphere on the nine compositions is very dynamic and energetic, with strong, good English vocals and often heavy guitar work (Steve Vai and Joe Satriani come to my mind). The sound alternates between harder-edged melodic rock and prog metal, but with a huge variety and strong musical ideas, trademarks of genuine progressive rock. The examples.

A heavy and bombastic climate (like early Black Sabbath), metallish guitars, synthesizer flights and a thunderous rhythm-section in Last Generation.
A biting wah wah electric guitar and finally flamenco guitar runs (“wow”, I say as an aficionado) in Count Your Blessings.
A captivating contrast between the sound of the flute traverse and heavy guitar in the exciting titletrack.
From dreamy vocals and tender acoustic guitar to blistering electric guitar in the alternating Across The nation.
Between Black Sabbath and Metallica with a lot of tension between the mellow and heavy parts, from classical keyboard orchestrations and acoustic guitar to sparkling flute and biting wah wah guitar, how exciting and varied!
And the wonderful ballad The Fall, first with fragile acoustic guitar runs and warm vocals, then more lush and dynamic with beautiful vocals and soaring keyboards.

Although the level on the compositions is very good, my absolute highlight is the final track Gone Too Far. In my opinion this one epitomizes how varied, dynamic, adventurous and, last but not least, progressive Overhead sounds! First a catchy rhythm with a sparkling flute traverse work (close to Ian Anderson), electronic inspired keyboards and heavy guitar riffs. Then a mid-tempo featuring powerful vocals and dynamic drums, followed by fat synthesizer flights. Halfway the sound turns heavier, the interplay between the flute traverse and heavy guitar evokes huge tension, fuelled by a propulsive rhythm-section, I am sure this band will rock 'n' prog on stage!

If you are up to harder-edged prog and to variety and adventure (with very interesting lyrics about our endangered society and earth, and fascinating artwork) Overhead is a band to discover, and I highly recommend this new album!

**** Erik Neuteboom (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)

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