OVERLAND – Epic (2014)
“Radio, Radio … Play that song … Take me back to when I was young” is the lovable chorus in the first track of OVERLAND’s new album “Epic” (to be released on March 3) and it captures the spirit of the record perfectly.
Steve Overland shines in FM but also with this, his own band, where Steve finds room for his true love; Classic Melodic Rock / AOR, and “Epic” is a masterpiece of the genre.
A quick look at the personnel involved on “Epic” should be a guide to what to expect; Christian Wolff (Rob Moratti band) on guitars & keyboards, Larry Antonino on bass and Jay Schellen on drums (both from Unruly Child).
Add to this a strong supporting cast as well with Mike Slamer (Streets, Seventh Key) handling additional guitars, bass, keyboards, production and arrangement, Billy Greer (Kansas, Seventh Key) and Billy Trudel (The City, Dirty White Boy) singing backup, and Fredrik Bergh (Street Talk, Bloodbound) lending additional keys on two tracks.
Holy Cow… Mike Slamer… Billy Greer… This is a record which can’t fail and it doesn’t!
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 Rock 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 (Mike Slamer is a God) keeps things crisp and current and you’re for a treat here.
The aforementioned “If Looks Could Kill” and “Down Comes The Night” are arguably the strongest tracks on the release, filled with all the goodies that make a song truly radio friendly and melodic. Steve’s vocals are spot on, and the rest of the band feels enthusiastic and energetic.
Almost all of the tracks are potential big arena rockers – “Radio, Radio” and “Stranded” are prime examples, and will carry most listeners into toe-tapping bliss.
“Rags To Riches” is a little grittier, bringing a hint of bluesy melodies (and a really great guitar solo) to the sound, while “Liberate My Heart” and “If Your Heart’s Not In It” simply soars. “Rock Me” is rich in keyboards and powerful bass to the forefront, then “Wild” is a shiny and bright vocal gem.
“Epic” makes justice to its name: it’s the best Overland (the band) recording ever, and one of the best Classic Melodic Rock / AOR albums from the last twenty years.
Superbly written tracks and flawless delivery make it easy on the ears, and Steve Overland proves himself to still be at the top of his Melodic Rock game. The band is awesome as well, dishing out big guitar hooks, epic (indeed) keys / synths and driving bass & drum lines. Slamer’s production is marvelous, with his trademark magical touch.
Is it too much adventurous qualify “Epic” as masterpiece for the genre? Not at all, if we talk about Classic Melodic Rock / AOR, this CD is pure gold.
A Must Have.
01. Radio Radio
02. If Looks Could Kill
04. Rags To Riches
05. Liberate My Heart
06. Down Comes The Night
07. If Your Heart’s Not In It
08. Rock Me
09. So This Is Love
11. The End Of The Road
12. Time For Letting Go
Steve Overland – Lead & Background Vocals
Christian Wolff – Lead guitars, Rhythm guitars, Acoustic guitars, Keyboards
Mike Slamer – Additional Guitars, Bass, Keyboards
Larry Antonino – Bass
Jay Schellen – Drums
Billy Greer (Kansas/Seventh Key) – Background Vocals
Billy Trudel – Background Vocals
Fredrik Bergh – Additional Keys on 5, 6