REVIEW: ORDEN OGAN – “Final Days”
From the wild west to the future. Orden Ogan’s themes’ reach is just as vast as their ability to play awesome power metal. With more than 25 years of activity, Sebastian “Seeb” Levermann and crew are growing more and more with each album, and here they are once again, now to tell tales of artificial intelligence, androids, and the ‘Final Days’.
As it was with ‘Gunmen’ (2017), Seeb and the company offer a different take on a very saturated genre. The album provides an interesting take on the Sci-Fi topic by adding a dark twist songwriting-wise, and by combining instrumental finesse with larger-than-life riffs, clever arrangements, and great melodies, especially in the choruses.
Commonly in Orden Ogan releases, ‘Final Days’ features songs that don’t actually intertwine together to form one big conceptual work, but rather each of them tells short stories themselves. “Heart of the Android” is a perfect start to it, and actually one of the best songs ever by the Germans. Combining a sorrowful atmosphere with a sense of rage and despair, this track could serve as an epitome of what this record is.
Other equally memorable tracks in “Heart of the A.I.”, “Inferno” and “Let the Fire Rain” follow the same path by being melodic and powerful at the same time. Newcomers Steven Wussow (bass, Xandria, Domain) and Patrick Sperling (drums, Earacle) provide great support and a smooth transition between the base and solo parts of the songs, but it’s Seeb that once again steals the show with his unique vocal lines and guitar prowess.
While not being as bombastic and opulent as ‘Ravenhead’ (2015), for example, ‘Final Days’ has more than enough pompousness to capture the epic essence that made the band what is it today. With classic Orden Ogan choirs and choruses symphonies, as well as galloping riffs, the listening experience is very similar to what we are used to seeing from the band.
The anthemic and intense “Alone in the Dark” changes the pace from the urgent, fast-paced tracks before it and delivers an emotional story through a beautiful duet by Seeb and guest vocalist Ylva Eriksson (Brothers Of Metal). Speaking of guests, Gus G. (Firewind, ex-Dream Evil, ex-Ozzy Osbourne) contributes with a cool solo in “Interstellar”, one of the more melodic tracks in the album, Brainstorm’s Andy B. Franck provides backing vocals, and Alex Staropoli (Rhapsody of Fire) brought some additional orchestrations in “Alone in the Dark”.
The final tracks, while not matching the quality of the first part of the album, are still stomping examples of why Orden Ogan is one of the best power metal acts out there. Top-notch songwriting and a good balance between melody, heaviness, and opulence bring energy until the last seconds of the record.
The fitting “It Is Over” closes the album, an epic track that thematizes the end of the world (caused by an asteroid impact) and culminates in the “last radio broadcast of mankind”, presented in all the world‘s languages. If you can think of a better way of ending a dark Sci-Fi-themed record, let me know.
Orden Ogan prove once more that reaching the top of the power metal chain is a walk in the park for them. Being it with mighty, catchy choruses or well-constructed instrumental parts, the Teutonic powerhouse managed to create an equally great effort here as their marvelous previous works. Being with a dark Wild West scenery, storylines about monasteries in moorlands, apocalyptic ice worlds, or the outer space, Orden Ogan can do no wrong. Buy this.