Album review: ORDEN OGAN – Final Days

AFM Records [Release date 12.03.21]

Orden Ogan might not be the band on everyone’s lips when Progressive or Power Metal is the subject of conversation. But they should be. And if their last album, Gunmen, didn’t put them there, Final Days will rectify the matter.

The band’s upward trajectory accelerates with every new release. They are clearly way ahead of the curve, trailing most others in their wake.

Living in the “Anxiety Age”, it’s not difficult to see why the end of the world as we know it might become the basis of a concept album. And so, Orden Ogan’s sixth album, Final Days, documents Armageddon, with each song having a common thread, stretching from the beginning of the album to the end. For Prog fans, a concept, or at least a theme, is an subject of great tradition and familiarity.

The idea of music being a substitute for images is normally confined to Cinema, but Sebastian Leverman, singer/writer/producer for Orden Ogan, succeeds in creating a Metalised version through his writing and arrangements.

‘Heart Of The Android’, ‘Inferno’ and ‘Hollow’ are his band’s equivalent of a major event firework display, building momentum through verse (“We’re Gonna Burn It Down”), then launching into an explosion of light and sound in the chorus.

‘In The Dawn of The AI’ and ‘Interstellar’ continue the story in a glorious rush of amplitude, speed and complexity. These are knowing, surefooted Progressive Metal songs that play to the band’s strengths, propelled by singing synths and scything axework, each filled to the brim with aurally adhesive hooks.

On albums like this, track sequencing is vital. Symphonic ballad ‘Alone In The Dark’ slows the tempo for a few necessary minutes, undercutting the bombast, allowing us to catch our breath. The song, understandably reflects on survival. Guest, Yiva (Brothers Of Metal) Erikksen adds an operatic gravitas to an already powerful piece of writing and performance.

Magnificently apposite closing track ‘It Is Over’ sees the planet go down in a blaze of glory, as the asteroid hits, and the spacecraft carrying the last few survivors escapes Earth’s gravitational pull. Dramatic or what?

To try to pick a standout track from such a consistent body of work would be foolish and pointless. Suffice to say it’s an album that will sustain even the most ravenous and demanding metal fan. ****

Review by Brian McGowan


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