Overhead – Telepathic Minds (2023)
Finnish proggers Overhead have been involved in the prog scene for some years now and in all honesty, I couldn't really appreciate what these guys have released in terms of records so far. Often leaning too much on 70s heavy prog with classic rock influences and well-known tunes and sounds. The voice of singer / flautist Alex Kestilo was not always pleasant and sometimes became a kind of imitation of James Hetfield (Metallica). Especially live he overscreamed his voice every now and then but there is no use for this because he can sing beautifully when he controls his voice. The frequent use of the flute resulted in clear similarities with the music of Jethro Tull. Mind you the guys can play but it sometimes got a bit messy and it often went a bit too much towards the downtrodden metal side.
Well, that's said.
So why did I go for the new album Telepathic Minds?
Actually for two reasons, the beautiful cover, you see, it still works, and the single Tuesday that never came. In their own words, Telepathic Minds is the magnum opus of the Finns, so I wanted to give them another chance. And I don't regret that! This is fucking good!
It is a double album and contains a total of ninety minutes of music divided into ten songs. If you do the math, you will understand that many long songs pass by, which is nice.
What is different from the previous albums?
There is a much better balance and the melodies are much, much better. Keskitalo's vocals are also really beautiful, he never overdoes it and hardly screams anymore. Here and there it is still pretty heavy, but there are only two songs that do touch me less in that respect. Sail across the Universe and Planet of Disorder are lesser songs, but they certainly have nice moments. But the rest ........ class with a capital C. Opener War to end all Wars is wonderful and contains everything I love, full keys (Jere Saarainen), tension, killer melodies and powerful guitar work by Jaakko Kettunen with a blood-curdling beautiful solo. It reminds me of Arena and let that be my favourite band so that's a whopper of a compliment. The following Ghosts from the Future is also a wonderful song in which the balance between spicy parts and floating passages, which I already mentioned, is almost perfect. This is solid neoprog of great class. Delicate souls may not be able to get over the somewhat bombastic parts, but I just love it. The Pilot's not fit to fly is built up a bit differently and even sounds swinging at times and also contains another nice solo by Kettunen. This man plays quite virtuoso and fast but doesn't forget the melody and you don't always hear that with technically gifted guitarists. There are occasionally pieces that walk the beaten track of prog rock, but I can live with that if names like Latimer or Gilmour come to mind. He does, however, often play in a somewhat higher gear than these two guitar heroes.
The rhythm section consisting of Janne Katalkin on bass and Ville Sjöblom on drums plays whirling when necessary, but also serving when asked. The level of play is just very high and you can hear that immediately.
As so often, the long title track is the highlight of the album and it is more than seventeen minutes of enjoying everything that makes prog rock so cool. Soaring and throbbing keys, including solos, tempo changes and that wonderful bluesy guitar solo towards the end, heavenly. The two closing songs are also very good, but just don't reach the level of the mentioned songs.
This raises the question of whether it wouldn't have been better to make an hour-long album that would be of top quality from start to finish. However, this is not up to me, certainly not, and we should therefore focus on the total package. With Telepathic Minds, Overhead has played itself into the elite of prog rock for me, thanks to the excellent choices and the great musical talent of the musicians. Of course I don't know what the guys from Overhead want themselves, but I would like to advise them, if necessary beg them, to skip the sparse metal-like parts and make more songs in the War to end all Wars vein so that it remains real prog. Oh dear, what am I saying now? So what is real prog? Thin ice mate, but I mean it. Just spare an old man his thoughts.
Go and listen to this!