|Review: Orden Ogan - Easton Hope|
Label: AFM Records
Year released: 2010
Genre: Progressive Power Metal
Review online: January 3, 2010
Reviewed by: Christopher Foley
Rated 4.48/5 (89.6%) (50 Votes)
This is one of the best albums I've heard in a long time. It's early in the year, but this could be a strong contender for best of 2010. You know I never bothered with these guys in the past; I took one look at the name and assumed they would be gay. It goes to show that you shouldn't judge a book by its cover (I should have learned my lesson from Tad Morose). Speaking of which the cover for Easton Hope is sublime perfectly moody and suitable to the experience inside, and of course a bit different to the sword and sorcery usual of the genre. It's hard to compare Orden Ogan to just one band, they take moments from many different bands and make it their own – no plagiarism in sight. Their style is a suitable mix of Folk, Power and Progressive Metal, and when everything is put together it really is magic. Each and every performance is stunning throughout Easton Hope – of course as a guitarist my favorite parts are the guitars, handled adeptly by Sebastian "Seeb" Levermann and Tobias "Tobi" Kersting, Sebastian handles vocals and keys too. Speaking of vocals, there are another three band members credited, resulting in a great experience vocally, which is one of the strong points of Easton Hope. Whilst maybe not the most technically amazing vocalists on the job they deliver a superb performance, very melodic in places but also able to deliver the aggression when needed, and once the choirs come into play things get pretty damn intense.
One thing I really admire about this album is the fact that each and every song has something exciting to bring to the table. It's a mixed bag – although imagine a mix of the finest delights imaginable, nothing sour in sight – even the ballad is great. I can really see the band put a lot of effort into this release and it really has drawn me in, it's great to see a band pushing themselves as opposed to cruising in automatic. Even the little things really standout such as the bombastic outro to "Goodbye" managing to send goose bumps racing across my body, or even the intro track "Rise and Ruin" which stands as one of few intros I actually bother with. If you're looking for an ass-kicker, look no further than the furious "Nobody leaves" boasting real cool riffs, and some of the sweetest arrangement in town. "We Are Pirates" opens with a great vocal melody that really reminds me of Timeless Miracle, although the rest of the song is pretty much the next best thing to Running Wild for pirate-style metal. My personal favorite is "Nothing Remains" which starts with such an epic build up, then busts out into a ripping guitar solo that floors me every time I listen to it, as does the part when they sound like Lost Horizon.
I could really go on all day about how great I think each track is on Easton Hope, and there's pretty much zilch I can fault Orden Ogan on here. They managed to fuse together a lot of brilliance without forgetting about being a metal band. If they keep this up there will be no complaints on my behalf, 20+ spins on and it's still growing on me – good form I say. If you're interested in Progressive, Power, or Folk Metal I'd strongly recommend you check out Easton Hope. A damn fine start to the New Year, and without a shadow of a doubt the first essential release for 2010 that's sure to be rotated heavily by me throughout the year.
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