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BEYOND THE VISIBLE LIGHT

Ovrfwrd

Heavy Prog


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Ovrfwrd Beyond the Visible Light album cover
3.66 | 13 ratings | 9 reviews | 8% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 2014

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Can We Keep the Elephant? (8:02)
2. Stones of Temperance (8:49)
3. Raviji (11:18)
4. The Man With No Shoes (10:48)
5. Darkest Star (8:56)

Total time: 47:13

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Mark Ilang / acoustic and electric guitars
- Chris Malmgren / keyboards
- Kyle Lund / bass
- Rikki Davenport / drums

Releases information

CD/Digital Rockslacks (2014)

Thanks to rdtprog for the addition
and to NotAProghead for the last updates
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Beyond the Visible LightBeyond the Visible Light
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OVRFWRD Beyond the Visible Light ratings distribution


3.66
(13 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(8%)
8%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(62%)
62%
Good, but non-essential (31%)
31%
Collectors/fans only (0%)
0%
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)
0%

OVRFWRD Beyond the Visible Light reviews


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Windhawk
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars US foursome OVRFWRD was formed in November 2012, fulfilling a long time desire for founding members Rikki Davenport and Mark Ilaug to be a part of an instrument progressive rock band. "Beyond the Visible Light" is their debut album, self-released in January 2014.

Fairly innovative instrumental progressive rock is what Ovrfwrd provides us with on their debut album "Beyond the Visible Light". Using bits and pieces from all over the progressive rock universe they have created their own brand of progressive rock, and while not distinct enough at this point to merit a description as one uniquely their own, it is unique enough to not invite to any instant associations. An album that merits an inspection by those with a strong affection for instrumental progressive rock, and a desire to listen to a band that explores this kind of music in a manner that doesn't invite instant associations to specific bands, styles or traditions.

Review by tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover Team
4 stars I was totally bowled over by Ovrfwrd's sophomore release 'Fantasy Absent Reason', so it would be only normal to go about reviewing the debut album from the talented Minnesotans. The drop-dead gorgeous album arrived in the mail and 'Beyond the Visible Light' immediately hit the audio player and I could not help to crank it up. The instrumental package they provide has four motivated and talented pieces that seem to this reviewer (as well as some of my colleagues) to be quite a revelation. Guitarist Mark Ilaug hails from the Alex Lifeson school of 6 string pyrotechnics, mastering the dizzying sonic nose dives as well as the slick and nuanced flicks of the wrist. Using a basic arsenal of keyboards from piano, organ, synths and the occasional harpsichord, Chris Malmgren doesn't just color in the backdrop with symphonics, he actually enjoys dueling with his axeman in dishing out fleeting bursts of ivory magic. My attention always is focused on the basso profundo and Kyle Lund sweeps his booming instrument very near the carpet laid down by the two soloists whilst paying studious attention to the dazzling adventures laid down by drummer Rikki Davenport, who simply sparkles once again, a deft combination of tenacious rhythmic drive and pugnacious finesse. As a rule, I am generally very touchy when it comes to overt technical displays, ever since I had the misfortune of witnessing a rather grotesque display from Stanley Clarke with Return to Forever in concert in 1974, opening for Dutch masters Focus. There was no booing but not exactly the rapturous applause he was expecting (and visibly demanding). Anyways, note flurries are not my kind of fun as context and mood are even more crucial to the humility of the artist's knowledge and technical skill. These gents have those qualities in spades, as both fury and restraint are well represented, in equal doses and at opportune times.

'Can We Keep the Elephants?' is the first installment and as such serves to prepare the stage and explain what these musicians are all about, and as such they succeed in spades. They waste little time in splashing their abilities, whether experiencing the rolling organ forays, the sprouting guitar explosions, the zooming bass barrage and the insane drum poly-rhythms. These musicians are at the top of their game, inspired and imaginative as the calm section enters out of nowhere, delicate details, tempered urges and passionate exaltation rule the roost. The guitar parts, whether riffing or soloing are simply sublime and the ornate beauty of the melody induces a feeling of comfortable acquiescence, caressed by the soothing keyboard runs. Sure, let's keep the elephants and order a case of peanuts, while we are at it!

The unflinching 'Stones of Temperance' is a collision of mammoth proportions between harsh guitar phrasings and some of the most brilliant piano playing ever, aided and abeted by dense and intense rhythmic explosions from the squid-like Davenport, a man who could perhaps give Neal Peart and Gavin Harrison a run for the money. This is my favorite track here, a delicate and mind-massaging exploration that is the quintessence of instrumental progressive music, uniting spirit, mood and melody in a dreamy package of deliverance. Wow!

The longest piece here, 'Ravji' is even more out there, slightly experimental and possessing a tinge of ethnic/world music but in a harder style, gradually going tornado (as Bill Bruford would say) and flinging this 11 minute affair into the stratosphere. Like some molten lava flow, it barrels ahead, slowly and deliberately but hard-edged and nervy. Ilaug does a clear cut Lifeson moment 3 minutes in, which will drop your jaw to the floor. The ensuing solo is both thunder and lightning as the whole crew follow in the furrow. Then, suddenly out of the blue (the cover art is a stunning azure image), Malmgren's piano enters the fray, Ilaug handling an acoustic guitar and the whole thing just explodes into a metallic frenzy full of verve and audacity, blitzing along like some sleek turbo-charged road racer, free of any traffic. You can even hear the guitar engine rumble and tremble from the vrooming finger work (Hey, Jimi). Edging towards the checkered flag, the pace moves towards a jazzier cruise control and then, a solemn piano evaporates into the horizon. Damn!

'The Man With No Shoes' is not a reference to George Bush in Baghdad (giggles) but rather another exercise in contrasts, obliqueness and even dissonance where the true measure of their collective muse can coalesce into one big bold statement. I love the way they take their time to set the mood before the guitar 'sub-machine guns' it way forward (a hint of the great Jan Akkerman on 'Hocus Pocus') and instills this sense of despair and agony. Once again, Davenport dazzles with seemingly effortless technique, full of supporting feeling and dexterity, at one point doing that slick Brufordian counterpoint tick-tock, as Lund scours the low end like some rabid sturgeon on the sea floor. It felt like being transported back to parts of Starless and Bible Black, only for a few minutes. Malmgren then tosses in some e-piano (my new found love) and simply sprinkles droplets of echoing sound all over the score as Ilaug does another excited and exciting solo, drenched in vintage psychedelia. Back to the preceding themes for a quick curtsy and they are done, convincingly! This is absolutely stunning instrumental prog of the finest caliber.

The debut Overfwd album ends with 'Darkest Star', a sonic duet of clanging guitar and sweeping synth, allied with some deft cymbal work and solemn pace. Contemplative and breezy, the staggeringly gorgeous piano takes over the lead role once again, with ornate twinkles that emote deeply and resonate profoundly, gradually increasing in ardor. Soon, the guitar begins its upward soaring vortex of ecstasy and we can only applaud the steadfast piano restraint, like some leash holding back an exited canine. The frenzied pace carries on, barreling down the cosmic highway like some insane asteroid looking for a moon to crash into. As this jewel fades into silence, I feel spent, empty and deliriously content.

OVRFWD is definitely my new darling, long may they flourish and prosper! Thank you for giving me the opportunity to discover, listen and enjoy your amazing craft. They are currently touring, so make sure you catch them live, they are surely a blast in concert.

4.5 evident luminosities

Review by Neu!mann
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars The debut album by the Minneapolis band Ovrfwrd might not have been so impressive had the session gone as planned. But the 11th-hour loss of their vocalist (a literal loss: he never showed up at the recording studio) was a blessing in disguise to the embryonic group, suddenly reconfigured as a much stronger instrumental quartet.

Bands like Ovrfwrd express the higher ideals of Progressive Rock by honoring the adventurous spirit of the early 1970s, but in a modern vernacular more genuinely progressive than Prog. This is a group that insists on playing music requiring more than three working brain cells (to perform, and appreciate), at the same time making it sound entirely unforced.

First albums by new bands aren't supposed to be this adept. The oddly-titled "Can We Keep the Elephant?" is an assertive curtain-raiser, but the music really begins to gel in "Stones of Temperance", smoothly juxtaposing lovely unplugged moments against harder amplified sounds, in a heavy yet melodic workout highlighting the natural interplay between all four players.

The even more cinematic "Raviji", at eleven-plus minutes the album's longest track, is an obvious highlight, demonstrating the forceful energy of the quartet with enough variation in mood and emotion to fill several different songs (on several different albums). Ditto "The Man With No Shoes", and especially the slow but dramatic jam in its second half, achieving a sense of dramatic nuance most proggers yearn for but rarely attain.

The album was recorded more or less live in the studio, with discreet overdubs: a great way to maintain the essential energy and rapport of a genuine band. The songwriting is perhaps not as spontaneous as it would later become. Instead, this debut effort was all about the new ensemble asking, "Who are we? Where are we going with this?" (quoting ace drummer Rikki Davenport in a recent video interview). The answer was an exhilarating process of discovery, for the group and for listeners, before the epiphany of the "Fantasy Absent Reason" album, released a year later.

Their name may resemble a failed Scrabble hand: never a decent vowel when you need one. But Ovrfwrd succeeded in making a strong first impression, with better to come.

Review by memowakeman
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars One of the advantages of the internet, is that now it is easier to know new bands and projects because people recommend them to you, or because the same artist contacts you in order to introduce you to their music. This was the case of Ovrfwrd, a band from the United States that is entering to this prog rock realm and aims to be heard around the world, which is why keyboard player Chris Malmgren contacted me and introduced me to their two albums, thanks Chris. The debut album is entitled Beyond the Visible Light, released in 2014 which features 5 solid compositions that range from 8 to 11 minutes, making a total time of 47 minutes.

They create interesting instrumental prog rock that of course has some influences from 70s bands, however they have managed to create a fresh sound that purely belongs to this millennium. The album opens with the aggressive 'Can We Keep The Elephant?' which shows since the beginning that the band has a prog orientation and that the members are great on their respective instruments. It has several changes but always keeps a fast and exciting sound which in moments explodes and becomes even more powerful. They let us know their compositional skills here, because the song is simply great, a wonderful introduction to their music.

'Stones of Temperance' has a softer start, however little by little the intensity increases, adding some dark and somber motifs that create a dense atmosphere splendidly played by the piano. After three minutes there is a moment of silence, a stop, and then a new structure begins to be built up, adding some highs and lows with nice atmospheric keyboards contrasted by raw guitars. It is once again a great song that would appeal to any prog fan. The longest track is 'Raviji', a song that has some spacey atmospheres, heavy prog moments and even a sound that reminds me of Rush, mainly due to the guitars. This is a true progressive rock song, and there are parts that it will make you remember some older acts of this genre, also, Ovrfwrd manage to make several changes without losing the path, I mean, they never break the song to make it less interesting, no, all the changes keep us interested and waiting for a new surprise.

'The Man With No Shoes' is truly interesting, a salad of sounds, a roller-coaster of emotions exquisitely represented with energy and cadency, creating textures and notes that are closer to the jazzy side of rock, but also using some psych elements that give as a result this intrepid heavy progressive rock music. The last song is 'Darkest Star' which starts soft with guitar and synth, reminding me of some Crimsonian impros, or Fripp-alike soundscapes. Later as usual, the song morphs several times, giving us a great mixture of sounds that in the end could please any progressive rock fan.

An excellent debut album from this US band whose music has to be heard by more and more people, I hope so. My final grade, 4 stars,

Enjoy it!

Review by kev rowland
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover Prog Team
4 stars I was recently contacted by keyboard player Chris Malmgren, who wanted to know if I would be interested in hearing the instrumental progressive rock band he was part of, which is how I came across Ovrfwrd. Formed in 2012, as well as Chris the band is comprised of drummer Rikki Davenport, guitarist Mark Ilaug and, bassist Kyle Lund. Five songs, with a total length of forty-eight minutes, this is a light-hearted and interesting debut. When a band is fully instrumental then of course there is no room to hide behind a singer, and what impresses me about this 2014 release is the sheer variety of styles and sounds that they are bringing to bear. They aren't a fusion act, but there are some elements of jazz here and there, and although the guitar can be gently picked, there are also times when the only thing to do is to shred. When this is undertaken on 'Stones of Temperance' I found it interesting that drummer Rikki is the only one keeping up with Mark, blasting around the kit, while Kyle kept everything grounded and Chris was playing piano.

They interweave melodies so that there is always balance, and even when the music is delicate and almost fragile, there is a strength that holds it all together. They know when the time is right to rock it out, or bring it all back in, when they need to use piano or keyboards, when to riff or gently play leads. The result is an album that is immensely listenable to, and enjoyable on the very first playing

Latest members reviews

3 stars Instrumental grittiness: 6.5/10 Featuring a fascinating album cover, OVRFWRD (I have a harder time spelling this than I'd like to admit), to my pleasure, had nothing to do with the modern prog band waves of cold virtuosity and polyrhythmic frenzy. What I have seen while listening to BEYOND TH ... (read more)

Report this review (#1741766) | Posted by Luqueasaur | Saturday, July 8, 2017 | Review Permanlink

3 stars VERY Good Debut. I probably should have reviewed OVRFWRD's two albums in chronological order, but I have been so enthralled with Utopia Planitia that I reviewed their second album first. But this is also a very good album. I think the 5-star system here on PA is missing one category, in between ... (read more)

Report this review (#1707624) | Posted by Walkscore | Monday, April 3, 2017 | Review Permanlink

3 stars 3.0 Stars. Biting off more than they can chew, but clearly talented. I was introduced to this band a few weeks ago when one of their members kindly offered their two albums for review. I decided to start off with their debut so I could see how they progressed to their more recent album. Ovrf ... (read more)

Report this review (#1546907) | Posted by LakeGlade12 | Friday, April 1, 2016 | Review Permanlink

4 stars It is not always easy to find the good ship in the ocean that has become the world production of progressive rock : the music is so democratized that good musicians armed with solid musical culture and luggage are many nowadays. Sometimes we find a new and interesting group and the cruise is fine, ... (read more)

Report this review (#1545082) | Posted by Kjarks | Sunday, March 27, 2016 | Review Permanlink

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