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Review: OZ - Transition State
Transition State

Label: AFM Records
Year released: 2017
Duration: 57:24
Tracks: 13
Genre: Heavy Metal

Rating: 3.75/5

Review online: December 3, 2017
Reviewed by: MetalMike
Readers Rating
Transition State

Rated 4.31/5 (86.15%) (13 Votes)

Legendary NWOBHM-era Finnish band OZ did the resurrection thing back in 2011 with Burning Leather, an album of new material mixed with re-recordings of tracks from their 80s releases. It seemed like the band never missed a beat and fans were pleased. Fast-forward to 2017 and we finally get the follow-up, Transition State. The title is prophetic as the only remaining member from Burning Leather is founding drummer Mark Ruffneck. Normally, an overhaul like that, including the loss of a distinctive vocalist like Ape de Martini, is a fool's errand but OZ has succeeded where so many others have failed. Transition State is a solid collection of traditional metal with strong vocals and some top-notch guitar work. New singer Vince Koivula has a high, gritty voice in the mold of Grim Reaper's Steve Grimmett and new guitarists Johnny Gross and Juzzy Kangas appear to have taken cues from the likes of Ritchie Blackmore and Vivian Campbell. The songwriting is straightforward, similar to what Hammerfall was doing on Glory to the Brave, meaning the wild and erratic charm of Fire in the Brain is missing and that's a bit of a disappointment for someone like me who's been a fan for a long time. Nevertheless, "Bone Crusher," "Drag You to Hell" and the Middle Eastern tinged "Whore of Babylon" are quite good for what they are; NWOBHM-inspired metal. If you enjoy Grim Reaper, Warlord, Saxon and Rainbow, check out Transition State but don't expect Fire in the Brain or Turn the Cross Upside Down as that sound is in the past.

Other related information on the site
Review: Burning Leather (reviewed by MetalMike)
Review: Burning Leather (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
Review: Fire in the Brain (reviewed by MetalMike)
Review: Transition State (reviewed by Luxi Lahtinen)
Interview with drummer Mark Ruffneck on January 17, 2014 (Interviewed by Luxi Lahtinen)
Interview with drummer Mark Ruffneck on December 13, 2017 (Interviewed by Luxi Lahtinen)
Interview with drummer Mark Ruffneck on September 30, 2018 (Interviewed by Luxi Lahtinen)
Interview with Mark Ruffneck (drums) on October 2, 2011 (Interviewed by Luxi Lahtinen)
Interview with vocalist Ape De Martini and drummer Mark Ruffneck on September 19, 2012 (Interviewed by Luxi Lahtinen)
Interview with vocalist Ape De Martini, guitarists Juzzy and Johnny, bassist Peppi and drummer Mark Ruffneck on March 26, 2016 (Interviewed by Luxi Lahtinen)
Video: Burning Leather (Live)
Video: Dominator
Video: Hey You
Video: Let Sleeping Dogs Lie (Live)
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