The folks at Progressive Promotions Records continue to scour the globe for exhilarating international artists; and through their efforts are reshaping the prog/rock landscape for the next decade. Their nearest competition seems to be Metal Mind Records – and between the two are dominating the genre with exciting releases from both new and established symphonic, neo, art, and metal prog artists. Acceptance into the 'Progressive Promotions' stable of artists must be pretty demanding because I've yet to have a dud come my way. When their logo is on the back cover chances are excellent I'm in for a treat.
And they haven't disappointed me this time either.
Our musical sojourn takes us to Finland, the land of the midnight sun.
“Of Sun And Moon” is the fourth release from the Finnish band Overhead, and a raucous party for the ears it proves to be. The music runs the gamut from heavy metal mayhem to cinematic prog; spans the decades from 60s' psychedelia to 80s' New Wave; it's propelled by the driving rhythm of techno, reggae, tribal, jazz fusion, and exotic Middle-Eastern motifs. Yet this unlikely juxtaposition of style and texture flows seamlessly from track-to-track.
A perfect example of sonic diversity and cross-pollination is the amazing track “An Afternoon Of Sun And Moon” which combines elements of the 80s' New Romantic artists like Ultravox, Depeche Mode, and Roxy Music with the reggae rhythms of The Police and symphonic metal of Dream Theater. Quite a unique combination.
“Syriana” is another strange but brilliant concoction with shades of The Doors haunting classic “Riders On The Storm” and manic intensity of King Crimson's “21st Century Schizoid Man”.
“Grotte” is comparable to the many space-rock jams from bands like Ozric Tentacles, Dol Theeta, Quarkspace, Melting Euphoria, and Alien Planetscapes with brilliant flute work from Alex Keskitalo.
As a matter of fact the flute adds an eerie contrasting texture to the aggressive heavy metal moments throughout the album. A flute is not unique to prog/rock groups like Jethro Tull and Focus, but imagine a flautist fronting the band Metallica!
“Angels And Demons” is a highlight of the album which goes through a series of jazzy movements before morphing into a full blown 60s' beach party with surf guitar Ala-Dick Dale from guitarist Jaakko Kettunen and a health dose of cheesy faux Farfisa organ from Tarmo Simonen. Add to that the distant echo of Marillion's “Cannibal Surf Babe”.
The Overhead line-up consists of: Tarmo Simonen (Piano & Vintage Korg Polysix), Janne Pylkkönen (Bass), Alex Keskitalo (Vocals & flute), Jaakko Kettunen (Guitar), and Ville Sjöblom (Drums).
The 3D cover art is pretty cool as well. Unfortunately I didn't get a pair of glasses with the promo, but as luck would have it I managed to find a pair of red and blue 3D glasses that came with an old VHS copy of the 1961 movie “The Mask” - so I got the full effect.
By deftly straddling the fence between neo, psychedelic, and metal prog, and thinking outside the box, Overhead distinguish themselves from the plethora of Dream Theater clones.
“Of Sun And Moon” is the culmination of extraordinary musicianship and a true sense of adventure.
For fans of Sylvan, Brimstone Solar Radiation Band, Cocktail Preachers, Gong, Brainstorm, Ritual, Beardfish, Ultravox, Dream Theater, Radiohead, Oceansize, Pink Floyd, and the open-minded listener with an penchant for music without boundaries.
As with most releases from Progressive Promotions Records - Highly Recommended!
Reviewed by Joseph Shingler on April 30th, 2013