Orden Ogan - Easton hope 4/5

Reviewed: 2-1-10





Tracklist:

1. Rise and ruin
2. Nobody leaves
3. Goodbye
4. Easton hope
5. Welcome liberty
6. All these dark years
7. Nothing remains
8. Requiem
9. We are pirates
10. The black heart
11. Of downfall and decline


If you were living under a rock throughout 2008, you would have missed hearing one of the most exciting new melodic power metal bands in quite some time, charge onto the metal scene. I speak of Germany’s Orden Ogan with their brilliant sophomore release entitled ‘Vale’. These German boys certainly made their mark with this dynamic CD and received massive acclaim; as well as getting my nod for the #1 metal release of 2008.

‘Vale’ was a perfect mix of heavy melodic/power metal with a touch of prog, exceptional songwriting and a fresh approach, all equaling to an epic-sized CD which took everyone by surprise. Little known record company Yonah Records had their little pot of gold with Orden Ogan, but with the band’s new-found popularity and success, business is business and the band left Yonah to sign with AFM Records. Now with the new release ‘Easton hope’, the band’s 3rd, released in January of 2010; anticipation is extremely high for Orden Ogan to again produce another CD of the same calibre as ‘Vale’. And I for one was excited but fearful to hear their new work, hoping that ‘Vale’ was not just a one-release wonder... my fears were put to rest after the first track.

‘Easton hope’ is a continuation from ‘Vale’ in terms of sound, however ‘Easton hope’ is a bit heavier than its predecessor, but still maintaining its ‘Vale’ core sound which blew fans away. Unlike the previous release which contained a few soft ballads, ‘Easton hope’ has just the one ballad (“Requiem”) and apart from the moving intro, every track on the CD is heavy, inspired and epic. It is the fresh sounding and unpredictable songwriting from Orden Ogan which has made them such an exciting band to listen to, compared to the predictability of most melodic/power metal bands out there. With such a breath of fresh air bellowed into the genre, 'Easton hope' is another fantastic effort from these German lads.

With complex song structures that includes strings, orchestras and choirs, and also sprinkled with a few passages of folk, the band melts all this into their heavy, forceful and furious guitar chords, powerful drumming and excellent vocals by Sebastian “Seeb” Levermann. The best part is that the music does not have a cluttered and sporadic feel that some bands can fall into when they are trying to do too much and have no real direction. In short, 'Easton hope' sounds quite majestic, very strong and powerfully energetic.

With a sound all to their own, but with similarities in song structure to Kamelot and Falconer, Orden Ogan have once again left me speechless with the amount of effort and talent and inspiration that has gone into this new CD. Let’s take the first track after the instrumental intro, “Nobody leaves”. Holy sh*t, what an excellent opening track to start the CD! In my opinion, “Nobody leaves” is the best song on the CD by far and an indication of the quality of the remainder of the CD. With thunderous double-bass pummeling and hard aggression to begin the song, the melody comes in with the chorus, with choirs adding to the epic feel. With the structure constantly changing throughout the song, so does the music; to include hard and heavy parts, and also soft and sombre passages. Certainly a ferocious and pulverizing opening track to say the least and by now you should be grinning from ear to ear.

More great tracks follow on the CD (with not wanting to name them all), including the melodic “Goodbye”, the impressive epic title track “Easton hope”, the majestic “Welcome liberty”, the technical “Nothing remains” and the soaring “The black heart”.

If you know Orden Ogan’s ‘Vale’ CD, and you thoroughly enjoyed it, then ‘Easton hope’ will do the very same and more. Those unaware of Orden Ogan’s greatness, I strongly recommend that you grab both this new release and also ‘Vale’; particularly the fans of epic/melodic/power metal and progressive metal. ‘Easton hope’ is an exceptional release, right up there on par with their previous breakthrough CD. This release is certainly a pleasure to listen to, not only for its top-notch emotionally moving metal, but also the superior songwriting which graces every track. You are indeed in for a wonderful, epic and satisfying journey with Orden Ogan’s excellent ‘Easton hope’.



SEAN




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