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Overland: Epic

First of all let me say that I love Steve Overland as a vocalist. I remember a time when it seemed as if I was watching FM virtually every other week good times and his fabulous vocals were a key reason why this was so. I remain a big FM fan (Rockville 2 was my no.7 pick for 2013) however, like many others what I yearned for was the man to get back to pure melodic rock and my word he's produced the goods with Epic!

A quick look at the personnel involved on Epic should be a guide to what to expect; Christian Wolff - Lead guitars, Rhythm guitars, Acoustic guitars, Keyboards, Mike Slamer - Additional Guitars, Bass, Keyboards, Larry Antonino Bass, Jay Schellen - Drums aided by Billy Greer (Kansas / Seventh Key ) - Background Vocals, Billy Trudel - Background Vocals and Fredrik Bergh, Additional Keys on "Liberate My Heart" and "Down Comes The Night". Holy Cow! Mike Slamer! Fredrik Bergh from Bloodbound! This is a record which can't fail and it doesn't!

This is classic melodic rock, beyond that it's a masterpiece of the genre. From the awesome "Radio Radio" through the slightly heavier "If Looks Could Kill" (can't get that one out of my head) all the way to "Time for Letting Go" this is truly wonderful music. It's so great to hear Overland emote over keyboard-drenched, hook-laden AOR songs as if it was 1985 all over again. Crucially though the pristine production keeps things nice and current and you'll just have to excuse me whilst I just listen to "If Looks Could Kill" yet again and get all excited about the guitar solo. In fact Christian Wolff emerges as a strong contender as MVP with his concise yet exciting guitar work throughout this majestic album.


Track Listing:
1-Radio Radio
2- If Looks Could Kill
3- Stranded
4- Rags to Riches
5- Liberate My Heart
6-Down Comes the Night
7- If Your Heart's Not In It
8- Rock Me
9- So This Is Love
10- Wild
11- The End of the Road
12- Time for Letting Go

Added: February 15th 2014
Reviewer: Simon Bray
Score:
Related Link: Escape Music
Hits: 2693
Language: english

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Overland: Epic
Posted by Steven Reid, SoT Staff Writer on 2014-02-15 15:12:44
My Score:

With FM and Shadowman having taken the thoughts and time of singer Steve Overland in recent times, it has been five years since he last stepped out under his own name. However with Epic, Overland the man and band are back. Teaming up once more with Escape for his extra-FM-curricular activities, the owner of one of the best and most recognisable voices in Melodic Rock is joined by Christian Wolff, (Rob Moratti) on guitars and keys, Larry Antonino (Unruly Child) bass and Jay Schellen (Hurricane/Unruly Child/Asia) on drums, while the hugely respected Mike Slamer (Streets/Seventh Key) guests on guitar, keys and bass, as well as producing the album; Billy Greer (Kansas/Seventh Key), Billy Trudel and Frederik Bergh also provide cameos.

Interestingly Steve writes the majority of what his main band FM produces, so for his solo efforts he actually cherry picks songs by outside writers to ensure there are a few different flavours to savour. However on this occasion that decision may well be the slightly weak link here, for while there is not one single duff track amongst the eleven on Epic, neither are there any real stand outs. Instead there's a hint of "by numbers" and choruses which sing of rags to riches, looks that kill, the end of the road, being wild, while asking, so is this love, merely add to the safe and steady feel. Don't get me wrong, it is impossible not to sing along to "Radio Radio", "Rags To Riches", "If You're Heart's Not In It" or "Stranded", however the very fact you can do so on the first time of asking suggests that rather than being catchy, Epic is a little expected.

Still, Overland is the epitome of "he could sing the phone book and make it captivating", so there's no doubt he and his voice are superb here, or that Slamer sprinkles his magic over the sound and a number of the guitar parts. Neither is there a suggestion that Melodic Rockers won't be captivated by atmospheric brooding keyboards, or layered backing vocals, with all the ingredients we've come to expect in this arena firmly in place. Possibly that's the problem?

Epic is another fine example of why Steve Overland is rightly regarded as one of the best singers the UK has ever produced. However while it is undoubtedly a great deal of fun, I doubt in years to come that this album will be the one we play to any non-believers to prove it.



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