Orden Ogan meaning ‘The Order of Fear’ are: Seeb Levermann – vocals, guitars Dirk Meye – drums Tobin Kersting – guitars Niels Loffler – bass, are a force to be reckoned with predominantly in Europe. Formed in 1996, the German quartet have a reputation for being innovative, a fusion of power metal with modern progressive rock and folk undertones producing a very big sound.
‘Gunmen’, their new album, has a standard to live up to that they have set themselves with their earlier work: Testimonium A.D (2004), Vale (2008), Easton Hope (2010), To the End (2012), Ravenhead (2015) and The Book of Ogan (2016).
‘Gunman’ is a stunning opening track setting the tone for the whole album –This track blows your ears off with forcefulness and simple, heavy, repetitive guitar riffs and fast paced rhythm. Fascinating lyrics with a lovely melodic voice ensure you are hooked from the start
‘Fields of Sorrow’ continues in the same vein. A big opening continuing at the fast pace and similar feel to the opening track. Big drums, big bass, big guitars – a good solid mid-range melodic rock vocal – big orchestral feel – you get the drift? Big…
‘Forlorn and Forsaken’ with its machine gun drumming similarly constructed to the previous tracks – a continuation of the vibe of the album, more excellent musicianship but becoming a little predictable musically.
‘Vampire in Ghost Town’ is another great track – slightly different opening tempo exploding into layers of guitars, voices and the consistent ‘dum de dum de dum’ of the drums rumbling through with a solid bass and lots of riffs – some soaring – taking the listener into the music and holding you locked in with the relentlessness of the pulsing beat.
‘Come with me to the other side’ clarity in the opening acoustic guitar, an ethereal female (Liv Kristine) voice but then the relentlessness continues.
‘The Face of Silence’ with its opening wildlife sounds transporting you to a far-away shore and lulling you in into thinking this was going to be a respite – a breather in the constant pulsing massiveness, Wrong ! Loads of key changes ‘We are the Future’ repeats throughout the chorus – voices getting inside your head and the relentless thumping rhythm is always there – no escape..
‘Ashen Rain’ has more grittiness to the guitars – more-grimy in its vibe – but then we are back to the same musical and vocal fullness of the other tracks.
‘Down Here (Wanted Dead or Alive) and ‘One Last Chance’ continue – story-telling lyrics, consistent rhythm, great guitars, great voices and then we are the conclusion ’Finis Coronat Opus’
This is a mammoth track – nearly 9 minutes long - Some variation in the rhythm, a clearness to the guitars but then we are back to the bigness! – A beautiful clear guitar riff later in the track gives another respite from the constant low-end rhythm. Crescendos of voices and music bring this album to its close.
The album feels like a rock opera on speed. It is very epic and very complex. If you take each track individually – they are awesome – power metal / rock performed awesomely well – good mid-range voices – some lovely production, fantastic storytelling through well written Gothic feeling lyrics. It is melodic metal, highly polished but with a dark twist. This has a Jim Steinman meets Beethoven feel.
However, I had to keep listening to lyrics rather than the music as it started to feel like one endless track – each track is around 6-9 minutes long except one, ‘Ashen Rain’ which is probably my favourite on this album. I wanted to hear some more colour to the melodies, more changes in tempo but that is purely a personal opinion. I did like the album, it was fascinating but it just left me a little unsatisfied.