Do you have something to say about Prog...
...and would you like to submit it as material for this blog, apply for membership at the ProgRockin blog planning Google group.
Recent Comments

Friday, September 12, 2008

Fromuz - Overlook

Fromuz is a 4-piece instrumental band that hails from Taskent, Uzbekistan. They are a new band to me, having just heard their 2007 release 'Audio Diplomacy' (2007) a few months ago for the first time. 'Overlook' was just released in 2008 on the U.S. label 10t Records. They bill themselves as a Jazz Rock/Fusion band although I personally hear very little fusion in their playing as I would choose to define it. What I hear is an interesting blend of styles ranging from hard-driving chordless melodies that are not far off from Planet X, to progressive odd-metered heavy chordal passages, to moments of synth-driven psychadelia. Fans of Spaced Out, Bolt, Speechless, Von Frickle, Static, Headshear, Planet X, and A Helmet of Gnats should find themselves right at home with this album.

No songs on this album clock in at under 10 minutes, yet a few of the songs themselves are broken down into several smaller 'songlets' that don't seem to really be connected with one another. The first track, for example, contains 4 or 5 smaller songs that are strung together end on end. There's seemingly no logic behind this, except that some of the slower passages tend to be placed in the middle of the songs. So within these songs we usually get a heavy-sounding intro at the beginning, more artistic or experimental middle section, followed up with a bigger finish. For example, the middle section of 'Other Side Of The Water' sounds very Pink Floyd - Animals-era psychadelic rock with lush synths and acoustic guitars. The production on this CD is excellent, especially considering that there are probably not too many state of the art recording studios in Uzbekistan. The band plays very tight throughout the album, proving that they are not only worthy artists but also perfectionists as well. The band have also found interesting cover art to suit both of their albums.

The musicians in this band show that they know their instruments and can really put out some stellar riffs when they want to. "13th August" is a great example of this. The whole track just sizzles with bombastic chops. However the album as a whole takes a more conservative approach with an emphasis on artistic development instead of displaying their technical prowess. The final 17-minute epic 'Return to W.I.T.' shows a more slower paced, artistic side of the band. This track reminds my of another band, Helmet of Gnats, who took a similar approach on their debut album. There is great depth here in these songs, and after several repeat listens now I find there is still so much more to hear on this CD. I hesitate to call this album a masterpiece, because there are definitely a few flaws and more experimental sections. One of the weaker points on the album is near the end of track 1, where the song breaks down and we hear several minutes of jazzy guitar noodling, which is about the only time I would dare to call this CD 'fusion'. Other places on the album breakdown with far more interesting results, such as near the end of 'Crashmind' which features an interesting guitar solo vamp and a soft piano ending with a twist.

Overall this is a great slab of close to 70 minutes of art rock, and I highly recommend that everybody who enjoys good instrumental progressive rock to pick it up for their collection. There's plenty of heavy riffs to keep the metalheads happy, and a more prog rockin' side for the proggers. This is a CD not to be 'Overlooked'.