Overhead - Zumanthum

Year of Release: 2001
Label: Mellow Records
Catalog Number: MMP 416
Format: CD
Total Time: 56:54:00

Most of the time, upcoming bands who offer something outstanding are welcomed with open arms by the entire prog community. As a result everyone and I mean EVERYONE knows about this band resulting in healthy sales. Only rarely this doesn't happen, which is a shame for all concerned. One of these exceptions is rumoured to be the Finish band Overhead. The seeds for this band were planted in September '99 and since April 2000 they are the quintet that delivered this little masterpiece in 2001. Before the arrival of their singer, the nucleus of four friends, who all study at the University of Technology in Helsinki, recorded the self-produced album The Snowman Album. Sadly this album was never officially released. New material was written and although still very melodic they are more about expressing the strong feelings of the human mind and strong atmospheres.

Some might compare the band's material with Camel but there's more to the Overhead compositions than just Camel. Inspired by diverse acts such as King Crimson, Rush, ELP, Dream Theater, Deep Purple but also Elton John, Tori Amos, Steve Vai and Joe Satriani, it illustrates that this band isn't afraid to broaden its horizons. Such is the first track on their debut album "Beginning To End" a 20-minute epic in which plenty of different styles mingle, all nicely balanced so that guitar and piano can be heard in detail without going into overdrive. The main melody makes me think of Polish band SBB whilst Alex Keskitalo's voice contains a slight hint of ... Devil Doll's Mr. Doctor! The way the band changes rhythms and atmospheres is quite ingenious and unheard of for such young musicians. The only minus I can find might be the immature way of singing in certain parts. For the rest great musicianship from everyone involved with even a bit of Anekdoten flavour present during "Asleep Pt. 2" which also contains some psychedelic Obscured By Clouds-era guitar. The intro for "Confessions Of The Grim Reaper" would sound great on stick, but they probably need an outside producer to tell them. Here Alex sounds like Stef Kamil Carlens from Belgian band Zita Swoon whilst the arrangement begs for lush symphonic strings. However they are able to once again change the atmosphere of the song into a rocking experience.

Much more solemn is the instrumental "Wasteland" which once again contains some interesting moves and sounds. If only the keyboard player could have access to better instruments I'm convinced the end result could be so much better. The title track contains some Zeppelin chords and illustrates for the upteenth time the potential of this band but in the end I'm not that euphoric about this album as it still contains a lot of naïveté. For sure an outside producer could do miracles here and above all these guys should be given better equipment, instruments that are capable of much more than the restricted material they are given now. Also the vocalist should listen to his recordings plenty of times before being 100% pleased. As a start however Zumanthum delivers an interesting album with enough credit to go on. In the end they might even become the Pain of Salvation of symphonic rock. But all I can give Overhead as advice is: don't be too satisfied too soon!

Beginning To End (20:20) / Asleep Pt. 2 - Awake (8:51) / Confessions Of The Grim Reaper (8:40) / Wasteland (5:07) / Zumanthum (13:45)

Alex Keskitalo - vocals, flute
Jaakko Kettunen - guitars
Janne Pylkk?nen - bass
Tarmo Simonen - piano, synth
Markus Wallasvaara - drums, percussion

Zumanthum (2001)
Metaepitome (2005)
And We're Not Here After All (2008)
Live After All (2009)

Live After All (DVD) (2009)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin FI

Added: September 22nd 2003
Reviewer: John "Bobo" Bollenberg

Artist website: www.overhead-band.com
Hits: 1411
Language: english


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