|Review: Orden Ogan - To the End|
|To the End|
Label: AFM Records
Year released: 2012
Genre: Power Metal
Review online: December 2, 2012
Reviewed by: Christopher Foley
for:To the End
Rated 4/5 (80%) (21 Votes)
Since the glorious Vale I've felt Orden Ogan have jumped from strength to strength, clawing their way up to the top of the power metal ladder. The band's fourth full-length To The End sees the band again jumping to strength, lynching us with what is their most streamlined, arguably complete effort. Somewhat of a slight departure from the dense mastery of Easton Hope Orden Ogan deliver eleven tracks of the finest power metal delights, honoring greats like Blind Guardian and Gamma Ray yet carving out their own niche amongst a genre seemingly on the rise again.
The first aspect of To The End that stands out to me is the album's stupendous, crystalline production. This sounds freaking great, with layered choirs and guitars wreaking bloody havoc across the best part of the hour. The multifaceted build seen in the surprisingly quality intro "The Frozen Few" sets the detonator before the band explode into a cascading firework display of modern power metal splendor. Backing up the vibrant sound are possibly the finest performances the band have cut to tape. The guitar work instantly speaks to me, weaving tapestries of spellbinding riffs into ear-pleasing melodies and pant-shittingly-excellent guitar solos; Sebastian and Tobi totally take names here. Niels and Dirk provide a tight pulsating rhythm section, with a thick slobbering low end provided via the former and a dynamic array of drum-battery from the latter. Nils' keyboards are particularly well done too, never overstated or intrusive adding a fantastical backdrop, with a slight icy tinge furthering the albums theme.
As for the vocals, I've mentioned earlier that they sound great. The band has clearly put a lot of time into the choirs and they sound massive. Some of the tracks utilize them almost solely and it really gives the band this kind of adventuring feel, which as a fantasy nerd appeals on so many levels. Sebastian's vocals are in general bloody great, putting forth a heartfelt and characteristic performance, wielding great power and a quality softer edge. If there's any downside to To The End I'd have to say that some of the riffs sound dangerously low in certain places (think Nevermore riffs a la Enemies...), and it kind of hurts the otherwise quality "This World Of Ice". Other than that relatively minor niggle this is all killer.
It would be remiss to sit and name standouts, as this album pretty much steamrolls everything in its way, including the competition. I will admit that it took a few more listens than expected for this to properly set in, and I'm still not sure if I like it as much as Easton Hope. However, if you're looking for some first class power metal to see you through the coming winter months then this album is a must have. Orden Ogan can pretty much count themselves among the power metal premier now, and if the band still eludes you I think it's high time you bought everything they've done from Vale onwards. Pretty much essential for any power metal fan, this one comes highly recommended.
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