|Review: Orden Ogan - Easton Hope|
Label: AFM Records
Year released: 2010
Genre: Progressive Power Metal
Review online: March 11, 2010
Reviewed by: MetalMike
Rated 4.48/5 (89.6%) (50 Votes)
Orden Ogan are a band that has been talked about quite a bit here on the Metal Crypt message boards and being the Power Metal fanboy that I am, when their latest, Easton Hope, came up for review, I thought what better time than now to see what the fuss was about. Ballsy, aggressive Power Metal with tons of heavy guitars, a healthy dose of keyboards and some absolutely massive choruses make up the bulk of Easton Hope. Sound good? It sure does to me.
Let's start with vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Sebastian "Seeb" Levermann. This guy has the prototypical Power Metal voice. He has a fantastic range and a rough-around-the-edges burr that makes for a unique sound, something that helps separate Orden Ogan from the host of European Power Metal bands. The rest of the band members are superb musicians because this is Power Metal and being technically proficient is the cover charge just to get in.
As for the album, Easton Hope opens with the requisite keyboard-laden instrumental intro, "Rise and Ruin," before ripping your face off with "Nobody Leaves." The thundering bass, combined with lighting fast riffing, orders you to throw your fist in the air. The chorus is huge and the backing choir, something used with great effect throughout Easton Hope, sounds awesome. The album gets a little uneven at this point with "Goodbye" and "Welcome Liberty" being a little choppy and not nearly as catchy as the song they bookend, title track "Easton Hope." "All These Dark Years" is an outstanding mid-paced number that features the multi-voice choir. "Requiem" is the obligatory ballad, but is a touching introspective song that allows Levermann to show off the emotional depth of his voice.
I am not quite sure if all of Easton Hope is about the same topic, lyrically, but it is at this point the album becomes a Pirate Metal album, and, coincidentally, features my favorite songs. "We are Pirates" leaves nothing to the imagination with its title and is a rollicking adventure on the high seas. It even has some Korpiklaani-type folk instrumentation at the end, a very nice touch. "The Black Heart" (again, hard to mistake what the song is about with that title) and "Of Downfall and Decline" finish the album in style.
While not perfect, due to a couple of uninspired songs, Easton Hope is, nonetheless, an excellent Power Metal album, sure to please all fans of the genre with its outstanding performances and several superior songs.
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