Inspired by classic prog giants like Pink Floyd, Genesis and King Crimson, Finnish band Overhead formed in the late nineties to record, and eventually release their first full version album “Zumanthum”. The band is comprised of Markus Wallasvaara on Drums, Alex Keskitalo on Vocals and flute, Jaakko Kettunen playing Guitar, Janne Pylkkönen Bass, Tarmo Simonen on Piano, synth.
“Zumanthum” consists of 5 songs, including a 20 minute epic, and fits in the Neo Prog style, but with the complexity and development found in the classic 70s style recordings. The Pink Floyd influence is there with a bit of Kaipa thrown in. With the perfect dynamics of keyboards and guitars, a symphonic sound is achieved.
The CD begins with “Beginning to End” (20:20) in five movements: i) Home ii) Miles and Miles iii) The Wait/Rain iv) Lost Beauty and v) Farewell. The band explores all forms of prog rock within the framework of this song. I especially like the moody section which closes the track. “Asleep pt. 2 – Awake” (8:51) follows. This is the most retro of the tracks, with a funky bass, electric piano and catchy melody. A lengthy instrumental parts reflects the King Crimson influences.
“Confessions of The Grim Reaper” (8:24) brings back memories of the halcyon days of Kansas, while “Wasteland” (5:00) floats upon layers of string synths, augmented by Hackett-like guitar. It’s a retro-sounding instrumental which is particularly effective in it’s placement. The mellowness leaves you waiting for something to rock us hard. “Zumanthum” (13:45) follows. It begins very mellow too, but eventually builds into some pretty heavy rock riffs. There’s the spacey moody passages too as, like the opening track, the song changes constantly in it’s three variations: i) Closer to Death ii) Tales from Earth iii) In the Wind. The piano movement with flute is haunting and beautiful, like those found in early Genesis albums. It leads to a powerful and memorable climax to the CD highly reminiscent of Supertramp’s first album.
To be honest, Overhead is not overly complex and thus sits in the Neo Prog style. It’s good music, well constructed and well played. It will not win over fans aching for something really progressive. But the record is diverse and unique enough to invite into the prog scene, a new band capable of doing great things in the future. Let the prog world welcome Overhead.