On July, 14th 2006, Overdrive played their first-ever ging in continental Europe. Although being traditionally dominated by American Power Metal acts, their roughly 45-minute set at the "Headbangers Open Air" festival in the North of Germany (including well-structured, almost proggy N.W.O.B.H.M. gems like "Stonehenge" and "Nuclear Bomb") went down a storm. Despite going on stage in short trousers and slippers, not really the Heavy Metal fashion of the day, Overdrive won the crowd over in no time. The setlist included several tracks from this year's "Three Corners to Nowhere" and "On Wizard Ridge". High Roller Records is proud to announce the limited edition vinyl release of "On Wizard Ridge" for January 2007. The album had originally been released on CD only via Obscure N.W.O.B.H.M. Releases from Greece (in 2005). However, it featured a front cover, which turned out shockingly bad. Guitarist Tracey Abbott comments: "This was down to the record company. I think the music made up for that." How right he is! Most of the 11 songs were originally written between the formation of the band in 1977 and 1981. Steve Farmer, Ian "Scratch" Padgett, Lee "Scully" Sculthorpe and Tracey Abbott entered Raw Turnip Studios in their hometown Grantham in December 2004 to "bring the Overdrive sound into the 21st century." And how well they have succeeded, Tracey describes the reactions to the album as "excellent". Regarding sales figures of "On Wizard Ridge", Mr. Abbott remains slightly vague: "We don't know how many copies have been sold as we were not in control. I believe that the original pressing of 1,000 have now sold out, but you may purchase the UK release from our web site (with a decent sleeve)." If you are a vinyl lover, however, better turn to the High Roller release (as usual limited to 500 copies worldwide)
One prominent feature of "On Wizard Ridge" is the use of spoken word intros, a stylistic device not considered by a lot of N.W.O.B.H.M. bands. Together with the atmospheric keyboard work by singer Lee Sculthorpe, this gives the music of Overdrive kind of an epic feel, very unique sounding. The guitarist nods in agreement: "Yes, we will try to keep this on albums to follow as an Overdrive thing. I have already started writing brand new material for the next album."
Original Overdrive vinyl from the early 80's is very hard to come by explains guitarist Tracey Abbott: "The 'On the Run' EP has been sold out for 25 years. You may get an occasional copy on eBay but you will have to pay between 100 and 300 British Pounds or pay 30 US Dollars for a blue vinyl Brazilian bootleg copy."
A band closely associated with the UK version of Overdrive is Marz. However, as Tracey Abbott states, the audiences of both groups do not seem to mix very well: "We tried a few Marz tracks in the Overdrive set but this pissed a few folks off." This, I take it, will not increase chances of a full-length Marz release ...
Matthias Mader (Iron Pages)