Orden Ogan - Vale 4.5/5
1. Graves bay
2. To new shores of sadness
3. Winds of vale
5. Reality lost
6. This is
7. This was
8. Something pretending
9. Lord of the flies
10. ...And if you do right
11. What I'm recalling
12. A friend of mine
13. Candle lights
14. The yearning remains (bonus track)
Wow! Where the hell did this band come from? And where have they been hiding all this time? German melodic metal band Orden Ogan have burst out from the clouds to give us what I consider to be one of best melodic metal releases in quite some time.
Forming in 1996, these lads released 3 demos from 1997-1999, entitled ‘Into oblivion’, ‘Anthem to the darkside’ and ‘Soli deo gloria’. The last demo could have easily been the band’s unofficial debut CD as it contained 10 tracks, a lot more than your standard demo. After the last demo was released, the band disappeared for 5 years until in 2004 their official debut CD was released, entitled ‘Testimonium A.D.’. The CD contained 7 tracks and was self-released. And for a self-released CD, the quality was very good. Fast forward 4 years since ‘Testimonium A.D.’ and the band have returned with a new improved sound, new line-up, new attitude, new record company and a new CD, entitled ‘Vale’.
Claiming ‘Vale’ to be the “rebirth of melodic metal”, Orden Ogan have done just that with a whirlwind 2nd CD that will be a massive talking point in the metal world. Taking what’s great from melodic metal (soaring melodic vocals, clean and aggressive guitars) and sprinkling a touch of folk/celtic/orchestral music and progressive metal, Orden Ogan has given melodic metal an improved make-over whilst making themselves known in the process. Also taking pieces from other metal genres such as neo-classical and power metal, Orden Ogan has put their own spin on them and have produced a fantastic CD from beginning to end.
The quintet consists of vocalist/guitarist Sebastian “Seeb” Levermann, lead guitarist Tobias Kersting, keyboardist Nils Weise, bassist Lars Schneider, and drummer Sebastian Grutling. Seeb Levermann is a sensation on ‘Vale’, his soaring and harmonious vocals lead every track, leaving you gob-smacked with his talent. Little known record company, Yonah Records have got themselves a big pot of gold with Orden Ogan and they should do everything they can to hold onto them. The production is flawless on ‘Vale’ as you can hear the music exactly how it was meant to be. No guitars taking over the vocals, bass is crystal clear and the vocals don’t stand above the rest of the music. Everything is completely balanced, which pleasantly surprised me coming from such an unknown band and record company.
Onto the CD itself and boy, where do I start? With songs including soulful and uplifting ballads, to mid-paced melodic rockers, and to fast-paced double-bass pummelling, guitar soaring screamers; ‘Vale’ has it all. With excellent songwriting, every track is a complete winner and has something everybody can enjoy and appreciate. After the instrumental intro, which gets you prepared for the remainder of the CD, the opening track lifts off... and I mean that literally. “To new shores of sadness” starts with a fantastic fast opening riff and double-bass pounding, an awesome way to start this journey that is ‘Vale’. The song entails much of what you expect to hear for the rest of the CD, including soaring vocals, crisp and crunchy guitars, well-placed keyboarding and catchy and melodic choruses.
“Winds of vale” follows the opening track and this one is just as good if not better. Shorter but somewhat more aggressive vocally, “Winds of vale” is catchy as hell and is one of the better songs on the CD. The tempo slows a bit on the next track, entitled “Farewell”. This is just one of many tracks throughout the CD where we hear Seeb Levermann really exert his vocal talent. His range is really quite endless, as you will hear throughout the CD. “This is” is another standout track, and one of the most melodic on the release. Sounding almost like 80s rock, Levermann’s voice soars to the heavens and will leave you gasping for more.
Another standout track is “The lords of the flies”, which Orden Ogan have done a video clip for, and can currently be seen on their website and on their Myspace page. It starts out slowly with a nice orchestral piece before the crunching guitars pick up the pace. With galloping riffs and emotional vocals, this is another melodic gem within a masterpiece.
Although every track is fantastic, other songs to listen out for include, “What I’m recalling” and the fantastic acoustic ballad “Candle lights”, which rounds out the CD. There is also a bonus track called “The yearning remains”, which is another emotional ballad that was previously unreleased.
Overall, Orden Ogan’s ‘Vale’ CD is absolutely fantastic with no weak points whatsoever. Their musical expression in the melodic metal genre is really something worth listening to and I urge everybody to go out and purchase this CD. 2008 is the year of Orden Ogan’s rise through the metal ranks, and ‘Vale’ should be one of the best metal releases of this year. Now I cannot wait for Orden Ogan’s 3rd CD and let’s hope it’s not another 4 years until we get our hands on it.
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