When keyboard player Chris Malmgren contacted me to let him know that Ovrfwrd were releasing a new album, recorded live in the studio, I was definitely interested. Recorded and filmed live at Pachyderm Studios in Cannon Falls, MN (Nirvana, Live, PJ Harvey, Soul Asylum) on August 5thand 6th, 2017 it features music from the first two albums (‘Beyond the Visible Light’, 2015, and ‘Fantasy Absent Reason’ from 2016) as well as new unreleased music for an album they are currently working on. Chris, along with Rikki Davenport (drums), Mark Ilaug (guitar) and Kyle Lund (bass) have produced some of the best instrumental progressive rock music for a few years now, and it is incredible to realize that this a live recording as they definitely nail it.
Influence-wise I have previously stated that they combine the likes of King Crimson and Discipline in their music, and give that much of this is taken from their first two albums there is no surprise that this is still the case, but there are times when one thinks that Spock’s Beard have had a part to play, or Arena, or Dialeto, while there are times when they bring infusion and make it centre stage. There is a great deal going on, but the guys never lose focus and there is no room for any meandering as the intent is always clear and there is just no room at all for any vocals! Al four play to their strengths, and while Mark and Chris often are taking the melody leads, the contra-melodies from Kyle and the aggressive attack from Rikki all make the music what it is.
All in all, this is an incredibly intense and enjoyable progressive rock album, one that I have no hesitation at all in highly recommending to anyone who enjoys this style of music. I suggest you play the video for ‘Unitopia Planitia” and then buy the album.
- Kev Rowland